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"Giving us hope": Parent and neonatal staff views and expectations of a planned family-centred discharge process (Train-to-Home)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-759
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Expectations
Issue number4
Early online date21 Dec 2016
DateAccepted/In press - 27 Sep 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 21 Dec 2016
DatePublished (current) - Aug 2017


Preparation of families for discharge home with their preterm infant is relatively unstructured in many UK neonatal units (NNUs). Family-centred neonatal care and discharge planning is recommended but variable.

Design and participants.

Qualitative interviews with 37 parents with infants in NNUs, 18 nursing staff and 5 neonatal consultants to explore their views of discharge planning and perceptions of a planned family-centred discharge planning process (Train-to-Home). The Train-to-Home facilitates communication between staff and parents throughout the neonatal stay.


Parents were overwhelmingly positive about the Train-to-Home package. They described feelings of hope, feeling in control, and having something visual to show their baby’s progress. They reported positive involvement of fathers and families, how predicted discharge dates helped them prepare for home, and the ways staff engaged with it when communicating with them. Nursing staff reactions were mixed – some were uncertain about when to use it, but found the visual images powerful. Medical staff in all NNUs were positive about the intervention recognising that it helped in communicating better with parents.


The use of a parent-centred approach to communication and informing parents about the needs and progress of their preterm infant in hospital is welcomed by parents and many staff. This approach meets the recommended prioritisation of family-centred care for such families. The predicted discharge dates helped parents prepare for home and the ways that staff engaged with the Train-to-Home when communicating with them helped them feel more confident, as well as having something visual to show their baby’s progress.

    Research areas

  • Discharge planning, Family-centred, Neonatal care, Parental self-efficacy

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