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Technol Health Care. 1998 Nov;6(4):225-30.

Technology in neonatal intensive care--a study on parents' experiences.

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Oulu Institute of Health Care, Oulu Polytechnic, Finland.


A comprehensive health technology assessment is needed to meet the demands of holistic health care. We performed a qualitative study to describe the parents' experiences of the nursing care of sick newborn infants. The parents of seven full-term infants in a neonatal intensive care unit were interviewed. The parents found the intensive care unit shocking. The equipment with wiring, tubing and blinking lights looked frightening. The parents felt very unpleasant because of the audible signals. The technological environment was oppressive, which caused the parents to feel as outsiders in their parental role and delayed the development of their ability to participate in the care of the child. To relieve the anxiety of the parents and to promote their ability to take care of their newborn child, parental experiences should be taken into account when developing devices. Special attention should be given to designing the outside appearance and the audible signals and alarms of the equipment.

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