Occupational Therapy Program Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (Dr.OT)

Copyright Statement

All rights reserved. This publication is intended for use solely by faculty, students, and staff of Nova Southeastern University. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, now known or later developed, including but not limited to photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author or the publisher.


College of Health Care Sciences – Occupational Therapy Department

First Advisor

Elise Bloch

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


Infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) require life sustaining intervention for weeks to months after birth. This intervention is remarkably stressful for both the infant, who is ill-equipped to handle life outside the womb, and for the parents who are filled with fear and stress due to the illness of their son or daughter. The experience of hospitalization can lead to stress, shame, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder for families of NICU infants. Knowledge about the unique stressors, challenges, and needs for support of preterm infants has proven helpful to boost confidence and feelings of wellbeing within the NICU family population. This capstone paper discusses a program designed in the NICU to improve the education, knowledge, confidence, and self-efficacy of parents in the NICU. Details of program design, implementation, results, and implications for the future will be presented.


Occupational Therapy


Kawa model, Neonate, newborn, post-traumatic stress disorder, shame, occupational performance, program, self-care, education, kangaroo care, positioning, infant communication, NICU, Parenting, Self-efficacy, Stress

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