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Staff Nurse Utilization of Kangaroo Care as an Intervention for Procedural Pain in Preterm Infants

Benoit, Britney MSc(A)N, RN, PhD(c); Campbell-Yeo, Marsha PhD, NNP-BC, RN; Johnston, Celeste DEd, RN; Latimer, Margot PhD, RN; Caddell, Kim BN, RN; Orr, Talia BScN, RN

Section Editor(s): Dowling, Donna

doi: 10.1097/ANC.0000000000000262
Original Research

Background: Skin-to-skin contact between mother and infant, commonly referred to as Kangaroo Care (KC), has demonstrated efficacy as a pain-relieving strategy for infants, yet, it remains underutilized in clinical practice.

Purpose: To evaluate changes in neonatal intensive care unit staff nurse beliefs, utilization, and challenges related to practice change in implementing KC as an intervention for management of procedural pain in preterm infants between 2 time points.

Methods: Nurses who participated in a larger clinical trial examining the sustained efficacy of KC were asked to complete a questionnaire at 2 time points: 1- and 6 month(s) following study initiation. Identified benefits, expectations, frequency of use, and challenges related to practice change uptake were described using frequencies and percentages. Data from the 2 different time points were compared using χ2 analysis.

Results: Of the 40 nurses approached, all completed the questionnaire (19 at the 1-month and 21 at the 6-month time point). Of the sample (n = 40), 97% of participants indicated that they expected KC to provide good pain relief or better. Staff nurses reported significantly improved preconceived ideas (χ2 = 22.68, P < .01) and significantly fewer concerns (χ2 = 22.10, P = .01) related to using KC as a pain-relieving intervention between the 2 time points. No significant differences were seen in the frequency of using KC as an intervention between time points.

Implications for Research and Practice: Despite increasingly positive preconceived ideas and reduced concerns, the frequency of using KC for procedural pain relief remained unchanged. Further research addressing ways to overcome barriers to utilizing KC as an intervention for procedural pain is warranted.

Centre for Pediatric Pain Research (Ms Benoit and Drs Campbell-Yeo and Latimer), Department of Pediatrics (Drs Campbell-Yeo and Johnston), and Maternal Newborn Program (Mss Benoit, Caddell, and Orr), IWK Health Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; School of Nursing, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (Ms Benoit and Drs Campbell-Yeo and Latimer); and Ingram School of Nursing, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (Dr Johnston).

Correspondence: Marsha Campbell-Yeo, PhD, NNP-BC, RN, Dalhousie University School of Nursing, 5869 University Ave, PO Box 15000, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3H 4R2, and Centre for Pediatric Pain Research, IWK Health Centre, 5850-5980 University Ave, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3K 6R8 (

This study was conducted at the IWK Health Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

This study was supported by research funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (grant number: 24464), the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (grant number: 2011-7517), and the MayDay Fund.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2016 by The National Association of Neonatal Nurses