Transitioning from Open Bay to Private Room: The Impact on Neonatal Parent-Staff Communication




Hokanson, Jamila Cutliff

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BACKGROUND: Effective parent-staff communication improves parents' emotional well-being, leads to better parent-infant bonding, and increases parental involvement in their child's care. Several studies address the impact of workflow and analyze the effectiveness of parent communication in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). However, few studies address parent-staff communication impact when moving from an open bay NICU to private rooms. OBJECTIVE: To determine the impact on neonatal parent-staff communication in moving from an open bay to a private room neonatal intensive care design. METHODS: Based on stakeholder interviews, spaghetti diagrams, and a communication process map, we developed and administered a mixed format parent and provider questionnaire to measure communication perception differences in the open bay and private room environment. RESULTS: There was no statistical difference (p-value > 0.05) between perceptions of communication in the open bay (2.33) versus the private room (2.34). However, there was a statistical difference (p-values < 0.05) between the providers' communication perception (2.16, 2.26) versus the parents' communication perception (2.88, 2.75). In addition, moving from an open bay to a private room environment widened the difference between the types of information parents desired versus what they actually received. Additional communication opportunities identified, in both the open bay and private room environment, include minimizing conflicting information, increasing parental engagement, and using diversified communication methods. CONCLUSIONS: Moving from an open bay to a private room NICU did not have a significant impact on parent-staff communication, but opportunity areas to improve parent-staff communication were identified. This data is being used to design interventions to improve parent-staff communication in our NICU.

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