Research Mentor(s): Ashlee Vance, Research Fellow
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation, School of Nursing
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 3 (1pm-1:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 14
The purpose of this study was to examine differences in familial impact during and after a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) hospitalization. We used the Impact on Family Scale (IFS) to assess the impact of infant illness on families in the areas of social relationships, financial burden, and personal strain, with higher scores indicating greater impact. It is important to understand how family life changes as a result of a child’s illness because the home environment and interactions can influence caregiving ability and infant growth and development. Knowing the differential effects of how family life is impacted before and after discharge may help providers prioritize support and resources at the right time. Survey data was collected from parents of NICU infants who were hospitalized after January 30, 2020. The survey included questions about demographics and the IFS measure. Our sample (n=132) includes 41 parents in the hospitalized group and 91 in the discharged group. Infant diagnosis ranged from prematurity (n=94), congenital birth defects (n=4), neurological (n=13) and other (n=20). We used Stata 15.1 to conduct our analysis, including sensitivity analysis to detect any differences between the two groups and demographics, and then used t-tests to see if there were any significant difference in the IFS scores. Significance was set at p-value of <0.05. There was a statistically significant difference between the scores from the two groups (0.0004, p-value<0.05) with the IFS total score being significantly higher (0.0002, p-value<0.05) for the hospitalized parent group. There was no statistically significant difference in the IFS financial scores between the two groups (0.55, p-value>0.05). Our findings suggest that parents may be more affected in terms of social relationships prior to NICU discharge while their financial burden did not appear to change prior to or after discharge. Based on our findings, parents may be in need of the most support while their infant is still in the hospital. Further research could help identify what types of support are most desired by parents in and out of the hospital.