Introduction. Significant progress in the perinatal and intensive care therapy resulted in a meaningful increase of survival of extremely immature, and burdened with severe diseases neonates. Although infants are the patients of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the needs of their parents should also be noticed and realized. The aim of the study was the analysis of the parents’ experiences of children hospitalized in the NICU.
Material. The research material comprises 39 written contributions of parents of children hospitalized in the NICU.
Method. A qualitative analysis of the text was used. Quotes of parents were classified in three categories: emotions, thoughts and support.
Results. Fear, happiness, joy, uncertainty, stress and shock are the most frequently emotions appearing in the parents’ reports. The most frequently mentioned areas of cognitive reactions of parents include: realization of child’s mortality, realizing problems of the premature birth, search for the guilty, and the reformulation of looking at the world. Parents often described support they received, but also pointed to the areas where support lacked.
As a result of intense emotions, both positive and negative tint that parents experience at birth of a premature or sick child, multi-disciplinary care is necessary in order to reduce the negative effects of experienced emotions.
Support, including information support for parents of critically ill newborns is a key skill in the practice of doctors taking care of children hospitalized in NICU.
Psychological support is an essential element of the holistic care of the neonate’s family.