Paternal and maternal concerns for their very low-birth-weight infants transitioning from the NICU to home

Craig F. Garfield*, Young Lee, Hyung Nam Kim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


This study examines qualitatively the concerns and coping mechanisms of fathers and mothers of very low-birth-weight (VLBW; <1500 g) neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) infants as they transition to home from the NICU. In-depth, semistructured phone interviews were conducted with a sample of fathers and mothers of VLBW NICU infants in the Chicago area who had transitioned home, and parental concerns were examined during the transition to home. Phone interviews lasting 30 to 60 minutes were transcribed verbatim, and all interviews were coded using content and narrative analysis. Twenty-five parents (10 fathers, 15 mothers) of 16 VLBW infants who had an average gestational age of 29.5 weeks and an average NICU stay of 58.38 days completed the interview. Overriding concerns included pervasive uncertainty, lingering medical concerns, and partner-related adjustment concerns that differed by gender. A variety of resilient coping methods during this stressful transition are also described. Fathers and mothers of VLBW NICU graduates have evolving but often differing concerns as they transition from the NICU to home. Many of these concerns can be addressed with improved discharge information exchanges and anticipatory guidance. Supporting parents during this stressful and often difficult transition may lead to decreased family stress, improved care, and better infant outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-312
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 8 2014


  • Fathers
  • Mothers
  • Perinatal
  • Transitions in care
  • VLBW infants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Critical Care
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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