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Reading to the Preterm Infant: Parent Perspectives on Barriers and Facilitators

  • Author Footnotes
    1 Present address: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center – Perinatal Institute, 11th Floor T-Building, 3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45229.
    ,
    Author Footnotes
    2 Present address: University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.
    Morgan E. Hill
    Footnotes
    1 Present address: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center – Perinatal Institute, 11th Floor T-Building, 3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45229.
    2 Present address: University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.
    Affiliations
    Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics (ME Hill, A Martin, SB DeMauro), Children's Hospital of Philadelphia – Roberts Center for Pediatric Research, Philadelphia, PA
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  • Ashley Martin
    Affiliations
    Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics (ME Hill, A Martin, SB DeMauro), Children's Hospital of Philadelphia – Roberts Center for Pediatric Research, Philadelphia, PA
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  • Sara B. DeMauro
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Sara B. DeMauro, MD, MSCE, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia - Roberts Center for Pediatric Research, 19th Floor Neonatology, 2716 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19146
    Affiliations
    Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics (ME Hill, A Martin, SB DeMauro), Children's Hospital of Philadelphia – Roberts Center for Pediatric Research, Philadelphia, PA

    Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics (SB DeMauro), University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    1 Present address: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center – Perinatal Institute, 11th Floor T-Building, 3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45229.
    2 Present address: University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.
Published:August 29, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acap.2022.08.008

      Abstract

      Objective

      To describe parent-reported barriers and facilitators to reading to preterm-born infants, both in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and at home. We hypothesized that families of preterm infants face unique barriers previously not described in the literature, and that understanding barriers from the parent perspective will uncover strategies for improving the NICU environment and cognitive home environment and allow refinement of current reading programs.

      Methods

      We performed a qualitative study of parents of 0 to 12 month corrected age infants presenting to neonatal follow-up clinic. Infants were born <33 weeks gestational age or with birth weight ≤1500 grams. Parents completed a semistructured interview about reading practices. Answers to open-ended questions were coded to highlight key themes.

      Results

      We reached thematic saturation after interviewing 23 parents of 28 infants. Parent-generated items about barriers and facilitators to reading in the NICU and at home were each coded into 4 themes. Competing responsibilities and believing that reading was developmentally inappropriate were 2 shared themes for barriers to reading in both the NICU and home environment. Support people and understanding developmental impact were 2 shared themes for facilitators to reading in both the NICU and home environment.

      Conclusions

      This qualitative work elucidates new targets for novel programs intended to support cognitive development of high-risk preterm infants. Addressing the unique, parent-reported barriers that we have identified and supporting adoption of the facilitators could increase word exposure for preterm infants, starting in the NICU and continuing at home.

      Keywords

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