TORONTO – Significant improvement in quality of life was observed in neonatal ICU families using the PreeMe+You app, preliminary results from a two-center study showed.
“NICU time is stressful,” one of the study authors, Abigail Whitney, said at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting. “With the birth of a preterm infant, parents are often quickly transitioned into the role of becoming a parent much sooner and in much different circumstances than they might have anticipated. Parents have reported feelings of isolation, alienation, and insecurity in the parental role while in the NICU. Studies have shown that interventions that engage parents in their infant’s progress can decrease parental stress and anxiety, increase positive parent-infant interaction, and even reduce the infant’s length of stay. Also, with advancing technology there has been a push to find ways to use mobile technology to help parents balance engaging with their infant with the rest of their busy lives.”
In a study overseen by PreeMe+You’s chief medical expert,, Ms. Whitney and her associates administered the app to 48 families at either the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital NICU or the Evanston Hospital NICU to assess readiness for using mobile technologies at the bedside. All families were recommended by a child life specialist who identified families who might be interested in using something like PreeMe+You. They excluded any families that were currently involved with child and family services, those with an infant younger than 7 days old, those whose child required escalation of care or upcoming surgeries, and those whose infant was over 37 weeks’ gestation.
First, the researchers briefed NICU staff about the study at charge nurse meetings, faculty meetings, and daily huddles for 2 weeks before first enrollment. “We did this knowing that parents might go to their nurses or doctors about how to answer specific questions within the app, or maybe want to learn more about a certain topic they learned from PreeMe+You,” Ms. Whitney said.
Data measurements included the PreeMe+You composite survey, which pulled questions from theand the NICU Parent Risk Evaluation and Engagement Model and Instrument (PREEMI). “We also included additional questions about technology use and capacity, as well as the PedsQL [Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory] Family Impact Module to assess parental quality of life throughout the study,” she said.