Malawi Medical Journal

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Experiences of caregivers of infants who have been on bubble continuous positive airway pressure at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Malawi: A descriptive qualitative study

Mtisunge Joshua Gondwe, Belinda Gombachika, Maureen D. Majamanda


Background: An innovative, low-cost bubble continuous positive airway pressure (bCPAP) device has recently been introduced in Malawi for the treatment of respiratory distress in infants. While this novel bCPAP system has been shown to be safe and effective in reducing infant mortality, caregivers’ experiences have not been investigated. The purpose of this study was to explore experiences of parents and guardians of infants who had been on bCPAP at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre, Malawi.

Methods: This was a descriptive phenomenological study that was carried out at the Chatinkha nursery unit and the paediatric nursery ward at QECH, from January to February 2015. Purposive sampling was used to select participants for in-depth interviews. Data saturation was reached with 12 caregivers. Data were analysed using Colaizzi’s framework.

Results: Caregivers received inadequate, inconsistent, and sporadic information about bCPAP. Student nurses and doctors were best able to answer caregivers’ questions and concerns. When their infants were on bCPAP, caregivers felt anxious and fearful. However, upon implementation of bCPAP treatment for their children, the caregivers were satisfied with it. The main sources of psychological stress were limited parent–child interaction and the constraints of prescribed visiting hours. Family, friends, and caregiver involvement in the care of infants provided some psychological comfort.

Conclusions: The results show gaps in the information and psychological support that mothers of infants on bCPAP receive in hospital. We recommend that psychological support be given to the mothers of infants on bCPAP at QECH
AJOL African Journals Online