Parents Perceptions of Stressors in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in One Hospital in Rwanda
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Session presented on Saturday, July 23, 2016: Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe and analyse parental perception of stress that resulted from having their infant admitted to an NICU in Kigali, Rwanda. Methods: A quantitative survey was used to describe and analyse parents' perceptions of stress when they had an infant admitted to an NICU. The Parental Stress Scale: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (PSS: NICU) Miles (1993) was used to measure the level of stress that those parents experienced. Scale scores were calculated by averaging those stress responses for the items on each scale and for the total scale. Independent samples Kruskall Wallis and Mann Whitney U tests were used to examine the association between the characteristics of the parents/infants and the three general stress constructs of the PSS: NICU instrument; i.e. infant appearance and behaviour, sights and sounds in the NICU, and adjustment in parental role. Results: The results indicated that parents experienced stress from having their infants cared for in an NICU. The most stressful events were the appearance and behaviour of the baby with a mean score of 4.02 while the subscale items related to sights and sounds were found to be the least significant source of stress for parents with a mean score of 2.51. In addition, the current study found that parents' age, educational level, occupation and infant birth weight were associated with parental stress. Conclusion: The study established that a range of factors was responsible for parental stress when a baby was cared for in NICU. Identification of these factors could enable health professionals from a hospital in Kigali, Rwanda to facilitate parents' adjusting and coping and a number of recommendations have been addressed to different level in order to handle this issue. Including; In-service education for nurses and doctors who work in a NICU can be implemented and the educational curriculum of nurses and doctors should also be interrogated in respect of these issues. In future studies, it may be appropriate to validate the usefulness of these components for Rwandan parents and further research using a qualitative approach could provide more detailed information about parental stress.