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Parental sensitivity is the interaction process by which parents (a) recognize cues from their infant, (b) interpret these cues adequately, (c) identify an appropriate response and (d) apply this response in an appropriate time frame. In the neonatal intensive care unit, parents of preterm infants often encounter factors hampering the establishment of their parental sensitivity. Parents report the need to be in proximity to and to participate in their preterm infant’s care in order to develop their sensitivity to their newborn infant. To do so, the effectiveness of interventions promoting their parental sensitivity has been evaluated with randomized controlled trials. The purpose of this systematic review is to evaluate the effectiveness of early interventions promoting parental sensitivity of preterm infants’ parents.
A search will be done in the following databases: CINAHL, PubMed in addition to Medline, Embase, PsycInfo, Web of Science, Scopus and ProQuest. No restriction for the years of publication will be considered. Two experts will be conducting independently each step of the review. All studies of randomized controlled trials of early interventions, for parents of preterm infants, implemented in the neonatal intensive care unit before the infant has reached 37 weeks of corrected gestational age, will be considered eligible. Primary outcome is parental sensitivity. Depending on the availability and quality of data, a meta-analysis will be done. Alternatively, a qualitative synthesis of data is planned. The systematic review follows the PRISMA recommendations. Finally, risk of bias and quality of the evidence of included studies will be assessed.
To our knowledge, this will be the first systematic review to examine the effect of early interventions that promote parental sensitivity of parents of preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. The results of this review will guide development of best practice guidelines and recommendations for further research and will have implications for neonatal clinical practice.
Systematic review registration