Isolated and on Guard: Preparing Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Families for Life with Hydrocephalus

Rebecca A. Dorner, Renee D. Boss, Vera J. Burton, Katherine Raja, Shenandoah Robinson, Monica E. Lemmon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective This study was aimed to characterize the parent experience of caring for a child with posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus and to describe parent preferences for counseling in the neonatal period and beyond. Study Design This was a qualitative interview study. Parents of infants born preterm with posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus completed semistructured interviews. Data were analyzed using a content analysis approach. Results Thematic saturation was reached on parent communication preferences after 10 interviews. Parent experiences of infant hydrocephalus broadly fell into two time periods, the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and after NICU discharge. The themes of uncertainty, isolation, hypervigilance, and the need for advocacy were common to each phase. Conclusion Parents expressed interest in the development of tiered NICU counseling tools that would provide evidence-based and family-centric information to (1) initiate connections with community and peer resources and (2) combat the isolation and hypervigilance that characterized their family experience of living with hydrocephalus. Key Points Infants with posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus are at risk for adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes. The parent experience of caring for a child with posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus is not well-described. In this interview study, parents described uncertainty, isolation, and hypervigilance. These findings call for structured NICU counseling and longitudinal family supports after discharge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican journal of perinatology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • hydrocephalus
  • neonatal intensive care unit
  • parents
  • qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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