Support network to families of low birth weight babies after hospital discharge: a qualitative study.


Social support
Child care
Home nursing

PlumX Metrics


Introduction: The family of a low birth weight baby faces new challenges on taking care of him after the hospital discharge, suffering a great impact when they get home, being in need of support to face the situation and to become adapted to the new reality in their lives. Objective: The aim of this study was to understand the support network and the type of support received by families in caring for low weight babies in the first six months after hospital discharge. Methodology: This is a longitudinal descriptive study of qualitative approach and it was developed together with six families living in Maringá, PR - Brazil. The data was collected from February to September 2008 through semi-structured interviews and non-systematic observation in four meetings: one week, one month, three and six months after hospital discharge. To analyze the information, the content analysis proposed by Bardin (1977) was used. The results showed that the support network is formed by family members, non-family members, professionals and institutions, highlighting the various forms of participation of parents and grandparents. However, the professional support at home is practically nonexistent. We conclude that the support to the families makes their daily lives easier, reduces the burden, brings security to them and provides welfare to all members. Implications for nursing practice: The results put in evidence the necessity of professional formation that favors the strengthening and instrumentalization of the future professionals for a more efficient performance along with the families that face the birth of a low birth weight baby. Deepening the researches related to family beliefs, especially on behavior, will allow professionals to redo the ways to narrow the gap in the continuity of care to family and low birth weight baby after the hospital discharge.