Submission Date


Document Type

Entry Level Capstone

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

First Mentor

Dr. Amanda Pignon, OTD, OTR/L


Current literature shows a gap in documenting the experiences and needs of mothers after being discharged home from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) (Lakshmanan et al., 2019). However, the literature that does exist suggests, following discharge from the NICU, parents and caregivers of infants' report feelings of stress and anxiety and lower levels of competence in caring for their infants (Lakshmana et al., 2019; Lee et al., 2019). There are discharge programs in existence that focus on providing services and resources for mothers, however, there is a lack of exposure, resources, introduction of programs to healthcare practitioners, and a lack of participation from mothers and caregivers (Lee et al., 2019; Sobaih 2012). It was suggested that a screening tool be created and used to access mothers who had a greater risk of not attending these programs (Ballantyne et al. 2021; Nwabara et al., 2017). Similarly, a needs-assessment questionnaire can also help to identify the needs of mothers as well as identify needed improvements within and outside of NICU departments. Once needs are identified, appropriate care, resources, and support can be provided. This study intended to fill the gap in the literature by creating a needs-assessment questionnaire for mothers and caregivers after being discharged with their infant from the NICU through a qualitative interviewing process. This questionnaire intended to provide a base from where to begin the process of providing needed resources and services. Additionally, literature highlights the importance of sensory experiences for NICU infants. These sensory experiences have been linked to lowering maternal stress rates and improving infant development, indicating the need for these experiences to be carried over into the home environment (Pineda et al., 2017; Vitale et al., 2021). This capstone research study also intended to create a sensory resource folder for sensory care at home.