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HERD. 2011 Spring;4(3):110-23.

A comparison of parent satisfaction in an open-bay and single-family room neonatal intensive care unit.

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Boekelheide Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Sanford Children's Hospital and Specialty Clinic, Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5039.



The purpose of this research was to test the hypothesis that parental satisfaction with neonatal intensive care is greater in a single-family room facility as compared with a conventional open-bay neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).


This investigation was a prospective cohort study comparing satisfaction survey results for parents who responded to a commercially available parent NICU satisfaction survey following the provision of NICU care in open-bay and single-family room facilities. A subset of 16 items indicative of family-centered care was also computed and compared for these two NICU facilities.


Parents whose babies received care in the single-family room facility expressed significantly improved survey responses in regard to the NICU environment, overall assessment of care, and total survey score than did parents of neonates in the open-bay facility. With the exception of the section on nursing in which scores in both facilities were high, nonsignificant improvement in median scores for the sections on delivery, physicians, discharge planning, and personal issues were noted. The total median item score for family-centered care was significantly greater in the single-family room than the open-bay facility.


Parental satisfaction with care in the single-family room NICU was improved in comparison with the traditional open-bay NICU. The single-family room environment appears more conducive to the provision of family-centered care. Improved parental satisfaction with care and the potential for enhanced family-centered care need to be considered in decisions made regarding the configuration of NICU facilities in the future.

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