Evid Based Nurs 10:41 doi:10.1136/ebn.10.2.41
  • Treatment

An educational-behavioural intervention for parents of preterm infants reduced parental stress in the NICU and infant length of stay

 Q Does an educational-behavioural intervention for parents of premature infants improve parent-infant interactions and parental mental health and reduce infant length of stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)?



randomised controlled trial (Creating Opportunities for Parent Empowerment [COPE] NICU programme).




blinded (primary care nurses and outcome assessors of parent-infant interactions).

GraphicFollow up period:

2 months corrected infant age.


2 NICUs in Syracuse and Rochester, New York, USA.


258 mothers (mean age 28 y) and 154 fathers/significant others (mean age 31 y) ⩾18 years of age (260 families) who could read and speak English, had not had another infant admitted to the NICU, and who had singleton infants (52% girls) born at the study sites with a gestational age of 26–34 weeks (mean 31 wks), birth weight <2500 g (mean 1650 g) and appropriate for gestational age, no severe disabling condition, and who were expected to survive.


147 families were allocated to the COPE programme, which comprised audiotaped and written information on infant behaviour and parental roles and suggested …

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