The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Early Childhood Special Education Studies: M.S.


Child and Family Studies


School of Education

First Advisor

JoAnn Johnson

Second Advisor

Brittany Sullivan

Third Advisor

Sara DeVos

Creative Commons License

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.