Bereaved mothers’ and fathers’ perceptions of a legacy intervention for parents of infants in the NICU

T.F. Akard*, M. Duffy, A. Hord, A. Randall, A. Sanders, K. Adelstein, U.E. Anani, M.J. Gilmer | JNPM 2018;

BACKGROUND:Legacy-making, actions or behaviors aimed at being remembered, may be one strategy to enhance coping and improve grief outcomes for bereaved parents and siblings. While legacy interventions have been developed and tested in pediatric and adult populations, legacy activities specific to bereaved parents in the neonatal intensive care unit remain unexplored. This study explored bereaved parents’ perceptions of a digital storytelling legacy-making intervention for parents after the death of an infant.
METHODS: Six bereaved mothers and fathers participated in a focus group interview three to 12 months after the death of an infant in the NICU. A semi-structured interview guide with open-ended questions was used to obtain parent self-reports. Qualitative content analysis identified emerging themes. RESULTS: Four major themes emerged regarding participants’ perceptions of a legacy intervention: (a) parents’ willingness to participate in a legacy intervention, (b) parents’ suggestions for a feasible intervention, (c) parents’ suggestions for an acceptable intervention, and (d) parents’ perceived benefits of legacy-making.
CONCLUSIONS: Participants reported that a legacy-making intervention via digital storytelling would be feasible, acceptable, and beneficial for NICU parents. Study results support the need and desire for legacy-making services to be developed and offered in the NICU.

*Corresponding Author: 

T.F. Akard, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Nashville, TN, USA. E-mail: