Kangaroo mother care is known to help save the lives of preterm and low birthweight infants, particularly in resource-limited health settings, yet barriers to implementation have been documented. Mothers and their families are very involved in the process of providing kangaroo mother care and the impact on their well-being has not been well explored. The objective of this research was to investigate the perspectives and experiences of a mother’s quality of life while delivering facility-based kangaroo mother care.
This study is a secondary analysis of the qualitative data collected within the “Integrating a neonatal healthcare package for Malawi” project. Twenty-seven health workers and 24 caregivers engaged with kangaroo mother care at four hospitals in southern Malawi were interviewed between May–August 2019. All interviews were face-to-face and followed a topic guide. Content analysis was conducted on NVivo 12 (QSR International, Melbourne, Australia) based on the six World Health Organization Quality of Life domains (physical, psychological, level of independence, social relationships, environment, spirituality).
Fifty-one interviews were conducted with 24 caregivers and 14 health workers. Mothers experienced multidimensional challenges to their quality of life while delivering facility-based KMC. Though kangaroo mother care was considered a simple intervention, participants highlighted that continuous kangaroo mother care was difficult to practice. Kangaroo mother care was an exhausting experience for mothers due to being in one position for prolonged periods, compromised sleep, restricted movement, boredom, and isolation during their stay at the hospital as well as poor support for daily living needs such as food.
A heavy burden is placed on mothers who become the key person responsible for care during kangaroo mother care, especially in resource-limited health settings. More focus is needed on supporting caregivers during the delivery of kangaroo mother care through staff support, family inclusion, and conducive infrastructure.