Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Major

Nursing

Research Sponsor

Michele Enlow, DNP, RNC-OB

First Reader

Lisa Hart, MSN, RN, CNE

Second Reader

Marie Cobb, DNP, RNC-OB, CNS, IBCLC

Abstract

Infants that are born near-term or before they reach their full gestational age of 40 weeks are at risk for facing future health problems and disparities in terms of proper development (Ladewig, London, & Davidson, 2012). This has been a major concern in the medical realm because of the high cost of managing preterm newborns and the complications that can develop. However, kangaroo care may aid in physical growth and cognitive development of these infants. The purpose of this integrative review was to determine if current research shows that kangaroo care has a positive effect on preterm infants in the following aspects: vital signs, infant mortality rates, behavioral development, parent-infant bonding, pain, and breastfeeding. Various databases, including Oxford Journals, PsychInfo, CINAHL, PubMed, and Medline were used to find twenty research studies that discussed kangaroo care in relation to various aspects of infant development. Through the analysis of these articles, it was found that kangaroo care has a positive effect on maintaining healthy vital signs, reducing rates of mortality, as well as behavioral development, breastfeeding rates, pain occurrence, and bonding between parents and infants. Recommendations have been made as to how to integrate this practice into standard care for NICU patients.

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