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

Second Advisor

Husny Amerih

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


Kangaroo care is considered best practice in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), though sadly is not implemented routinely in many units. The benefits of kangaroo care are well documented and include increased weight gain, thermoregulation, improved sleep, brain growth, decreased stress, improved oxygenation, and self-regulation. This project was initiated to develop, execute and evaluate a comprehensive kangaroo care program in a level 4 NICU. The nurses were interviewed within the NICU where the program was implemented to discover that many nurses did have some knowledge of kangaroo care but did not feel confident or comfortable supporting kangaroo care practice as part of their bedside care. This program was developed utilizing information from the literature on implementation science and best practice in nursing education. The education included a voice-over PowerPoint and a simulation lab. The program was a collaborative effort among nursing. Parents' needs were integral to program success and were addressed through parent-friendly education. A family support specialist was integral to review educational materials and ensure that the material was appropriate for the parents. The results demonstrated that the type of education provided was effective to increase the knowledge and confidence of the nurses and increase the percentage of kangaroo care practices. Occupational therapists are well suited to educate, support, and facilitate kangaroo care within a NICU as kangaroo care aligns with co-occupations and promoting parental occupations, advocacy, and caretaking skills.


Occupational Therapy


Family-centered, Implementation science, Kangaroo Care program, Parent occupation, Simulation, Neonatal intensive care