Culminating Project Title
Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
Early Childhood Special Education Studies: M.S.
Child and Family Studies
School of Education
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, (NICU) premature infant, supports, discharge, impacts
Every year, approximately 500,000 babies in the United States are born before 37 weeks gestation. Often premature birth results in a stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for some length of time. A literature review shows that there are lasting impacts on both the parents and the premature infant due to a stay in the NICU. These impacts can affect the parents’ mental health, the attachment between parents and infant, and the infant’s overall development for years to come. Findings from two qualitative questionnaires completed by previous parents of infants who stayed in the St. Cloud Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and St. Cloud area agencies show how the St. Cloud community supports the parents and the premature infant after discharge from the NICU. The parents shared that the biggest support while in the NICU was the March of Dimes, but after discharge, there was limited support from previous supports or local agencies. With limited responses to the questionnaire from local agencies, it became apparent that it may be difficult to get into contact with the agencies. These findings showed the disconnect between supports while in the NICU and supports once discharged from the NICU. The connection between the St. Cloud Hospital NICU and local agencies needs to be an item of focus to increase support for parents and infants born prematurely.
Koester, Susan, "The Lasting Impacts of the NICU Experience and How a Community Supports the Premature Infant and Their Family" (2021). Culminating Projects in Child and Family Studies. 35.