A survey on NICU therapists' role for infants with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy following therapeutic hypothermia
Purpose: This descriptive study aimed to survey therapists working in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and identify the neonatal therapists' role for infants status post therapeutic hypothermia.
Methods: The researchers developed an online survey for distribution to neonatal occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech language pathologists. The online survey contained 22 multiple choice and open-ended questions.
Results: A total of 58 neonatal therapists participated in the survey. Only 13.8% of the participants reported involvement during the actual cooling process. From the sample, 51.8% of neonatal therapists reported providing services 24 hours or earlier status post cooling. The interventions provided included caregiver education, positioning, and environmental modifications. A majority of participants utilized formal assessments and reported having no protocol in place regarding neonatal therapy intervention for infants with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.
Conclusions: Based on the sample, the results suggest that current neonatal therapy practice with infants status post therapeutic hypothermia varies between institutions, but also provides evidence of some commonalities in intervention strategies.