Evaluation of a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Volunteer Cuddler Program on Neonatal Neurodevelopmental Outcomes
Metadata[+] Show full item record
Infants born prematurely are at an increased risk for neurodevelopmental delays. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is a toxic environment that fails to harbor proper brain growth. Additionally, infants spend an excessive amount of time isolated during hospitalizations which can be detrimental to their neurodevelopment. The purpose of this quasi-experimental, evidence-based quality improvement project was to evaluate the effectiveness of a volunteer cuddler program on neonatal neurodevelopmental outcomes at discharge. Data was collected on fifty infants born at less than 32 weeks gestation in a level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit between March 2020 and November 2020. These infants were part of a retrospective chart review group that did not receive cuddler interaction because the cuddler program was suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic. Data was collected on twenty-four infants born at less than 32 weeks gestation January 2020 through March 2020. The information was compared between the two groups based on differences between admission and discharge length, weight and head circumference, length of stay, and scores on the Hammersmith Neurologic Exam. No statistical significance was found between the two groups. The neurodevelopment was improved in the intervention group based on the average score of 65 Hammersmith Neurologic Exam. Improved neurodevelopmental outcomes enhances the infants’ quality of life, decrease the length of stay in the hospital, and decrease the healthcare system’s burden.
Open Access (fully available)
Copyright retained by author