The experience of carers who are implementing or have implemented Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) at the R.K. Khan Hospital.
Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) is a fairly new concept to the patients and personnel at the R. K. Khan Hospital. Arising from one of the Governmental initiatives, KMC was introduced to KwaZulu Natal in 2001. The personnel at this hospital were briefly introduced to this alternate method of care for a low birth weight baby, by means of symposia and in-service. Soon after this in-service education, the personnel were requested to implement KMC. This study was undertaken to explore the perceptions of carers for the preparation and experience of KMC and to describe the experiences of the carers who have implemented KMC. Furthermore, this study determined whether carers received support during the implementation of KMC and in so doing to identify the sources of this support. The selection of this particular field of study arose out of the researcher's professional role in educating personnel in the theory and practice of midwifery. The lack of documented evidence to problems that they may have been encountered and management strategies to deal with these prompted this study. The intention was to obtain empirical findings so that personnel would be provided with appropriate and precise information on the subject. A phenomenological approach was used. The sample was obtained from the R. K. Khan Hospital neonatal unit. This is a regional hospital that is located in Chatsworth, Durban. The sample comprised often mothers who were practicing KMC in the post-natal ward, or mothers who were discharged and were still practicing KMC for the past two to four weeks. Data were collected by means of face-to-face interviews. Interviews were conducted using a semistructured interview guide. These interviews provided the researcher with rich, personal and narrative experiences of the carers before and during KMC. The results of this study indicated that KMC was indeed new to most of the mothers and this evoked apprehension, doubt and fear, but once the mothers had tried it and were successful, they felt a sense ofjoy. Nursing personnel formed part of the supportive environment for the mothers practicing KMC. The latter is a prerequisite for the success of KMC. Since KMC is associated with many benefits to the mother, the baby and the institution, for the future it could be incorporated into the midwifery curriculum for student midwives. Recommendations concerning nursing practice, nursing education and nursing research were made at the end of the study including the limitations affecting the study.