Development of an Evidence-Based Guideline for Preterm Infant Massage by Parents
Despite the increase in the survival rate of preterm and low birth weight (LBW) infants through the provision of high-technology neonatal care, the potential mortality and morbidity faced by these infants remain a concern. The morbidity and mortality rates of infants are inversely proportional to their birth weight and gestational age. Therefore, promoting infant weight gain reduces preterm infant morbidity. Clinical trials have suggested that infant massage provided by parents or therapists can promote weight gain, increase vagal activity and gastric motility in preterm LBW infants. No adverse reaction of infant massage is reported. As such, the application of an evidence-based guideline to clinical practice can help healthcare professionals provide high-quality care to preterm infants and thus produce better health outcomes. This paper presents the development of an evidence-based guideline for preterm infant massage. The challenges involved in implementing this evidence-based guideline are identified, and strategies for tackling these challenges are discussed. This guideline provides a model of care in the neonatal clinical setting.
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