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Recruiting bereaved parents for research after infant death in the neonatal intensive care unit

Journal title
Applied nursing research : ANR
Publication year
Currie, E. R.; Roche, C.; Christian, B. J.; Bakitas, M.; Meneses, K.

Understanding parental experiences following infant death in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is a high research priority and a necessary first step to improving health services. However, recruiting bereaved parents to discuss their experiences on such an extremely sensitive topic can be challenging and research procedures must be planned carefully in order to get an adequate sample. There is little published in the literature detailing specific strategies for recruiting bereaved parents for grief research, especially strategies for contacting parents and identifying factors that might affect participation. The purpose of this paper is to describe the process of recruiting bereaved parents into a qualitative research study exploring parental NICU experiences and grief responses following infant death. We describe a successful recruitment plan that led to the enrollment of difficult to recruit participants such as fathers, and individuals representing minorities and those from lower socioeconomic (SES) groups. Bereaved parents of infants after an NICU hospitalization should continue to be recruited for research studies for their unique perspectives and valuable insights about the devastating experience of infant death. Participants in this study reported more benefits than harm and the results addressed a critical gap in the literature.

Research abstracts