Caring for Indigenous families in the neonatal intensive care unit
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Inequitable access to health care, social inequities, and racist and discriminatory care has resulted in the trend toward poorer health outcomes for Indigenous infants and their families when compared to non-Indigenous families in Canada. How Indigenous mothers experience care during an admission of their infant to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit has implications for future health-seeking behaviors which may influence infant health outcomes. Nurses are well positioned to promote positive health care interactions and improve health outcomes by effectively meeting the needs of Indigenous families. This qualitative study was guided by interpretive description and the Two-Eyed Seeing framework and aimed to understand how Indigenous mothers experience accessing and using the health care system for their infants. Data were collected by way of interviews and a discussion group with self-identifying Indigenous mothers of infants less than two years of age living in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Data underwent thematic analysis, identifying nursing strategies to support positive health care interactions and promote the health and wellness of Indigenous infants and their families. Building relationships, providing holistic care, and taking a trauma-informed approach to the involvement of child protection services are three key strategies that nurses can use to positively impact health care experiences for Indigenous families.
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