In 2018, our Turkish Partner Parent Organisation El Bebek gül Bebek conducted an online questionnaire with 500 parents of preterm born babies to gain more insight about their psychological state of mind. The outcome confirmed the previously gained experiences: 80% of mothers felt responsible that their baby was born preterm, making guilt the main feeling that parents experience. However, only the minority of parents seek psychological help.
To improve mental health of parents whose babies are still in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), Ilknur Okay developed a training that took place in 16 hospitals in Turkey. 250 parents as well as NICU nurses, training nurses and a few neonatologists participated. The overall feedback was positive: parents felt more relaxed and optimistic about the future and more useful and informed after the workshop. The healthcare staff later stated that the communication with parents got easier as their anxiety levels decreased. In addition to that, they distributed the booklet “From the incubator to the world – a manual for preterm babies” at the hospitals, so that future parents of preterm babies will receive information too.
One of the main success factors was that the facts about preterm birth and the baby’s health were passed on in an understandable language, whilst validating and respecting the parents feelings.
In the future, El Bebek gül Bebek plans to expand the training programme to more hospitals all over Turkey.
You can find more information here (in Turkish).