A Community based pilot study: Using Video interaction to support parents whose babies we born at 32 weeks or less gestation.
Improved survival rates of very (≤32 weeks gestation) and extremely (≤28 weeks gestation) preterm infants are increasingly accompanied by a range of developmental difficulties, which can impact across the lifespan.
Although the evidence suggests that many of the difficulties experienced by preterm infants are the result of compromised neurological functioning and impaired cognitive ability, recent research suggests that other factors such as parental sensitivity may also influence outcomes.
This pilot study investigated whether an intervention consisting of three home visits involving the delivery of video interaction guidance could impact on parent-infant interaction and parental mental health.
Families with an infant born at ≤32 weeks gestation were eligible to participate. Thirty-one families were recruited on the neonatal unit (NICU) and randomised to an intervention or a control group. Both groups received standard community care and the intervention group received an additional 3 home visits using Video Interaction Guidance (VIG). The primary outcome was parent-infant interaction assessed using a 3-minute video-recording which was coded using the CARE-Index. Secondary outcomes included anxiety and depression, parenting stress and PTSD.
The results showed significant pre to post differences favouring the intervention group for maternal sensitivity (p=0.04); and for infant difficultness (p=0.02) and a trend for infant co-operativeness (p=0.059). There was also a significant improvement in the overall anxiety and depression score (p=0.03), but no significant changes for the other outcomes measured. Interview data showed that parents rated the intervention highly valuing the opportunity to learn about their infant’s cues using video, and reporting an increase in confidence and knowledge about infant cues.
These results of this small pilot study suggest that VIG may be an effective method of intervening with parents whose infants were born preterm. Future evaluation should examine whether additional components explicitly targeting parental anxiety might increase its impact on parental mental health, alongside other models of delivery, such as the use of groups.
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