Current Content
Volume 49 - Number 4
July/August 2023

Impact of Kangaroo Care on Caregivers in the NICU: An Integrative Review
Kaitlyn Louis and Anne White

Having an infant hospitalized is a highly stressful experience for caregivers, leading to psychological symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, dysfunctional family functioning, and personal medical issues. Kangaroo care is one intervention available to help mitigate the psychological impact of neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) stays on caregivers. The review explored the literature for the impact kangaroo care has on caregiversí psychological health with newborns in the NICU. Databases CINAHL, OVID, and MEDLINE were examined to yield 23 articles for review. Inclusion criteria encompassed primary research on the effects of kangaroo care on caregiver psychological stress, studies published between 2005-2020, and written in English. Four major themes emerged: impact on self-esteem, impact on mental status and mood, decrease in salivary cortisol, and enhanced bonding. The closeness and intimacy experienced in kangaroo care positively impacted the caregiver's confidence, self-esteem, and bonding, which resulted in increased caregiver initiative to participate in the infant's care. Nurses play a critical role in finding ways to support caregivers in their time of need through interventions that can decrease the stress and adverse psychological effects of caregivers when their infant is in the NICU.