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The responses and involvement of fathers of pre-term low birth weight babies in a neonatal intensive care unit at a tertiary hospital in Durban.

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Premature birth occurs before parents have had time to prepare for the birth of the infant. This survey was conducted to describe the responses of fathers of preterm low birth weight babies (PTLBW) and their involvement in the care of those babies in a neonatal intensive care unit. A quantitative descriptive non-experimental study design using purposive sampling (a non -probability method of sampling) was adopted. Fifty fathers of PTLBW babies of less than 2500grams, who visited and were involved in the care of their babies in NICU, voluntarily participated in the study by completing a self-administered questionnaire. The questionnaire was designed to collect the demographic information of the participants and to address their responses and their involvement in the care of the baby. Analysis of the findings revealed that fathers reacted positively on the birth of their babies as the majority of the fathers indicated that they were happy despite the fact that their babies were born before time. Fathers in this study experienced varying reactions to the equipment that they saw being used on their babies, 76% mentioned that they were frightened. Moreover, the research findings revealed that a high percentage of fathers, 88%, in the study mentioned that talking to their wives, partners or spouses as well as talking to nurses and doctors in NICU was the main strategies that they had used to cope with their feelings. Teaching is part of the support available to fathers as a tool to enhance their psychological well being and increase their interdependence relationship. Fathers in this study indicated they received information about their babies during visits. Thirty four (68%) of the fathers in the study acknowledged that nurses gave the most teaching about the baby, baby's care, baby's progress and about their overall role while the baby is in NICU. The fathers also in the same manner demonstrated that the information that they received on the NICU environment has helped them to participate in the care of the baby.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, 2007.


Infants (Premature), Father and child., Theses--Nursing.