Caring, chaos and the vulnerable family: Experiences in caring for newborns of drug-dependent parents

Fraser, Jennifer A., Barnes, Margaret, Biggs, Herbert C., & Kain, Victoria J. (2007) Caring, chaos and the vulnerable family: Experiences in caring for newborns of drug-dependent parents. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 44(8), pp. 1363-1370.

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Background: Infants exposed to intrauterine drugs present a number of challenging features with which the new mother is faced. They can be irritable, unresponsive, and unpredictable. Available treatments require specialised neonatal care for the first four to six weeks of life; a critical time for the parent-infant attachment relationship to develop. Neonatal nurses have the opportunity to promote this development and ameliorate the effect of other developmental risk factors the baby is likely to experience. Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore neonatal nurses' experiences of providing care to drug-exposed newborns and their parents throughout treatment for neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Design, setting and participants: This study used interpretive methods by conducting group interviews with eight neonatal nurses in each of four Special Care Nursery Units in South-East Queensland, Australia. Results: Barriers to promoting the parent-infant attachment relationship were found to be both attitudinal and organisational. These barriers were significant, and were seen to impact negatively on optimal care delivery to this vulnerable population. Conclusions: Unfortunately, the results of this study indicated that management of these babies and their parents is compromised by a range of attitudinal and organisational factors. There is a need to address these barriers to optimise care delivery and improve the way in which neonatal nurses impact on parent-infant relationships.

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16 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 13231
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Author affiliations:
School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology - Jennifer Fraser, Victoria Kain
Faculty of Science, Health and Education, University of the Sunshine Coast - Margaret Barnes
School of Psychology and Counselling, Queensland University of Technology - Herbert Biggs
Keywords: Neonatal abstinence syndrome, Neonatal nursing, Parent, infant attachment, Drug, dependent parent
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2006.06.004
ISSN: 0020-7489
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 01 May 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:37

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