Therapist Education and Massage for Parent Infant-Outcomes

2019-10-16 10:39:37 | BioPortfolio


The Therapist Education and Massage for Parent-Infant Outcomes program is evidence-based and includes infant massage, physical therapy interventions including developmental support and play activities to promote infant behavioral-motor development, principles of family-centered care, and multiple modes of educational delivery to enhance parent retention of knowledge, parent-infant bonding, and confidence in continuing physical therapy interventions after discharge.


The Therapist Education and Massage for Parent-Infant Outcomes program involves components during and after hospitalization.

During infant hospitalization • Visit 1: Early Parent Education Session: Initiated within 3 weeks of infant birth. The therapist will educate the parent about the importance of infant positioning, the impact of prematurity on the motor and sensory systems, and how to read and respond to infant behavioral-motor cues using a written pamphlet with pictures to supplement the verbal education lasting about 30 minutes.

- The therapist will ask the parent to complete a contact information form and a demographic form and a baseline questionnaire.

- Visits 2-8: Weekly Parent Education Sessions <34 weeks: Following the initial parent education session, the therapist will hold weekly parent education sessions, ideally at the time of therapy. When the infant is this young (<34 weeks gestation), therapist intervention and education will focus on infant behavioral-motor cues, reading/response to infant cues, positioning strategies/concerns, and developmentally appropriate stimulation of the infant. If the parent is not available for all therapy sessions, then the parent will receive a weekly update about their infant's progress face-to-face and/or via video chat.

- Visits 9-10: Infant Massage Parent Education Sessions: Parent-administered infant massage will be incorporated into the therapy plan of care as soon as the infant's medical provider determines that the infant is physiologically stable and can tolerate massage. This time is generally once the infant is approximately 34 weeks gestational age, approximately 1500 grams, and is demonstrating temperature stability out of the isolette for short periods. At a minimum, the therapist will teach massage for the back or lower extremities over 2 parent education sessions. The therapist will demonstrate massage strokes on a doll using verbal cues to guide the parent while the parent administers massage on the infant. An instructional massage pamphlet will be provided. Once the therapist has determined parent safety with massage administration, parents will be encouraged to practice infant massage when they visit the baby and to note when they do this by marking a card at the bedside.

- Pre and Post both massage sessions, the Primary Investigator or study coordinator will collect salivary cortisol via buccal swab as a measure of physiologic stress.

- Visits 11+: Weekly Parent Education Sessions >34 weeks: Weekly parent education once the infant is >34 weeks will begin to incorporate hands-on developmental play activities, introduction to visual engagement, and postural control practice in variety of positions that the infant tolerates. Additionally, the therapist and parent may choose to review massage at these visits. If the parent is not available for all therapy sessions, then the parent will receive a weekly update about their infant's progress face-to-face and/or via video chat.

- Final Visit during hospitalization: Within the week of hospital discharge, the therapist will schedule a face-to-face parent education session lasting about 30 minutes to review age-appropriate developmental play activities for home and review infant massage. A supplemental handout and therapist email and pager information will be provided.

- At this visit, the therapist will have the parent fill out a questionnaire.

Follow- up procedures (by visits) The program has additional components that extend beyond the hospital period. Parent and infant outcome measures will be collected at the first follow-up and 12 month corrected age follow-up clinic visits.

After hospitalization:

- Visit 1: Parent Education Post-Discharge: The therapist will call the parent within 2 weeks of discharge to follow up about discharge education and massage. During this phone call, the therapist will review the home program and massage techniques. The therapist will also answer any parent questions. Therapist email and pager information will be provided.

- Visits 2-12 (approximate): Bi-weekly emails (or texts): The therapist will send bi-weekly emails or texts (depending on parents' preference) with developmental play activity and massage reminders and tips from hospital discharge through the first follow up appointment.

- Visit 13 (approximate): First Visit Follow-up Massage Review Session: At the infant's first follow-up appointment with the multidisciplinary neonatology team, the therapist will provide a gross motor screening assessment and education. In addition, as part of the program, a therapist will facilitate a parent-administered infant massage session to provide an opportunity for parent to receive feedback on technique from the therapist. This session will address any safety concerns, infant changes, and parent questions.

o At this visit, the therapist will have the parent fill out a questionnaire for ongoing measurement.

- Visits 14+ (approximate): Bi-weekly emails (or texts): The therapist will continue to send bi-weekly emails or texts (depending on parents' preference) with developmental play activity and massage reminders until the 12 month followup appointment.

- 12 Month Follow-up Appointment: At the standard of care 12 month corrected age follow-up appointment with the multidisciplinary neonatology team, the PI or study coordinator will interview the parent about acceptability of the program.

- At this visit, the therapist will have the parent fill out a questionnaire for ongoing measurement

Study Design


Parent-Child Relations


Therapist Education and Massage for Parents of Extremely Preterm Infants


University of North Carolina Children's Hospital
Chapel Hill
North Carolina
United States


Not yet recruiting


University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2019-10-16T10:39:37-0400

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