Vol. 1 No. 2 (2022): infermieristica journal: we never stop

Parental participation in care during Neonatal Intensive Care Unit stay: a validation study

Davide Scarponcini Fornaro
NICU - ASL Pescara
Carlo Della Pelle
Head Nurse, ASL 02 Lanciano-Vasto-Chieti
Emanuele Buccione
ASL Pescara

Published 2023-01-18


  • Parenthood,
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit,
  • Parental Participation,
  • Nurses


Introduction: Although the Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) can offer lifesaving care for vulnerable newborns after birth, separation from the parents, pain, sleep disruptions, and environmental stressors can be traumatic experiences for these critically ill newborns. At the same time, the new parents can experience a situation they are not prepared for, such as separation from the newborn, and fear of the unknown, which, together disrupt the family ties, which are created and strengthened right during the moment of birth. Evaluating the participation of the parents in neonatal care during their children’s stay in the NICU allows health professionals to highlight possible gaps in the correct management of the babies by the parents, intervening where it is necessary, with proper education and support. 

Aim: To validate the Italian version of “The Scale of Parental Participation in Care: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit” (PPCS: NICU). 

Methods: The study was conducted in a 22-bed mixed (medical and surgical) NICU of a public hospital. The study participants comprised parents whose infants were admitted to the NICU from April to August 2022. 

Results: A total of 128 parents were included in the study. Exactly half of the sample was female, and the average age was 33.43 ± 6.51 years; 31.25% (n=40) of the sample already had a first child. Those who had a history of previous abortion were 25% (n=32). Additionally, 3.12% (n=4) of parents experienced a previous death of their child. About the type of delivery, 54.69% (n=70) of the sample experienced vaginal birth, 17.19% (n=22) of them underwent an elective cesarean, and 28.12% (n=36) underwent an emergency cesarean. Item analysis was performed on all 16 items. The corrected total item correlation coefficients for the scale items were adequate between 0.408 and 0.821. Cronbach’s alpha was 0.926. 

Conclusion: The Italian version of the PPCS: NICU shows high reliability and therefore, it can be used in the context of Italian NICUs to assess the degree of parental participation in neonatal care, allowing early identification of critical issues by parents in the care of newborns admitted to NICU. 


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