Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

An Intervention Program for Families With Irritable Infants

Keefe, Maureen R. PhD, RN, FAAN; Barbosa, Gail A. ScD, RN; Froese-Fretz, Ann MS, RN, CPNP; Kotzer, Anne Marie PhD, RN; Lobo, Marie PhD, RN, FAAN

MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing: July-August 2005 - Volume 30 - Issue 4 - p 230-236
Feature articles

Purpose: To describe and evaluate a home-based nursing intervention program, the REST routine, which incorporates the use of infant behavior assessment, pattern recognition, individualized infant schedules, specific management strategies, and parent education and support.

Study Design and Method: A two-site clinical trial was conducted on 164 healthy full-term infants with excessive unexplained irritability or colic. Infants between the ages of 2 to 6 weeks were randomized to routine care or a home-based intervention program (n = 121). A third group (n = 43) of infants too old at entry for randomization (mean age = 10.4 weeks) were entered into a posttest-only group.

Results: Infants in the REST routine treatment group cried 1.3 hours per day on average following the intervention program as compared to the control group crying 3 hours per day (p = .02). Infant irritability was resolved (<1 hour) in 62% of the treatment group while only in 29% of the control group at the time of the 8-week follow-up visit (p = .04).

Clinical Implications: Families in both the treatment and control groups reported benefiting from a nurse visiting in their home to inquire about their infant and their well-being. Options for individualizing the program for those most in need of intensive home visiting and other delivery modes for the intervention are areas for further investigation

These nurses have used decades of experience studying irritable infants to develop an intervention program that works.

Maureen R. Keefe is Dean and Presidential Endowed Professor, University of Utah College of Nursing, Salt Lake City. She can be reached via e-mail at

Gail A. Barbosa is an Associate Professor, Medical University of South Carolina, CITY.

Ann Froese-Fretz, is the Fussy Baby Clinic Director, The Childrens Hospital, Denver, CO.

Anne Marie Kotzer is a Nurse Researcher, The Childrens Hospital, Denver, CO

Marie Lobo, PhD is a Professor, University of New Mexico, College of Nursing.

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.