Effective provider-parent relationships are essential during critical illness when treatment decisions are complex, the environment is crowded and unfamiliar, and outcomes are uncertain.
To evaluate the feasibility of daily Skype or FaceTime updates with parents of patients in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and to assess the intervention’s potential for improving parent-provider relationships.
A pre/post mixed-methods approach was used. NICU parent participants received daily Skype or FaceTime updates for 5 days and completed demographic and feasibility surveys. Parents also completed Penticuff’s Parents’ Understanding survey before and after the intervention. Nurses and physicians completed feasibility surveys after each update.
Twenty-six parents were enrolled and 15 completed the study. More than 90% of providers and parents perceived the intervention to be reliable and easy to use, and about 80% of parents and providers rated video and audio quality as either excellent or good. Frozen screens and missed updates due to scheduling problems were challenges. Two of the 4 subscores on the Parents’ Understanding survey improved significantly. Qualitative data favor the intervention as meaningful for parents.
Real-time videoconferencing via Skype or FaceTime is feasible for providing updates for parents when they cannot be present in the NICU and can be used to include parents in bedside rounds. Videoconferencing updates may improve relationships between parents and the health care team.