Parents of premature infants have unique information and support needs regarding the caregiving of their premature infants after the initial discharge home from the hospital. These needs may only become evident after the discharge, which presents challenges that require additional social and professional support. Through my research I strived to determine the information and support needs of parents relating to the caregiving of their premature infants after the initial discharge home from the hospital. The main aim of my study was to inform a South African post-discharge parent support programme within the Developmental Systems Model theoretical framework. A four-phase qualitative descriptive design was employed. In Phase 1, an integrative literature review was conducted to determine the information and support needs of parents of premature infants following their initial discharge home from the hospital. Phase 2 explored the information and support needs of 25 South African parents regarding the caregiving of their premature infants by utilising a pilot study and four asynchronous online focus groups. In Phase 3 the data sources from Phases 1 and 2 were merged to develop and finalise ten recommendations that were utilised to develop the content of the parent support programme. Seven Early Childhood Intervention professionals were involved to ensure the recommendations were appropriate and contextual for South African parents. Fifteen South African parents were subsequently asked to validate and confirm the ten recommendations. The final phase (Phase 4) of the study comprised a parent validation survey with 17 South African parents, which ensured the appropriateness of the content for the South African post-discharge parent support programme. The contents, based on the findings of the four-phase study, will appropriately serve as the foundation for a South African parent support programme to be implemented as part of a future project.
Keywords: caregiving, information needs, parents, post-discharge programme, premature infants, recommendations, support needs, South Africa.