Original Research

The forgotten needs of mothers during neonatal transfers: A quest for greater sensitivity

Pradeep Ashokcoomar, Raisuyah Bhagwan
South African Family Practice | Vol 62, No 1 : Part 3| a5091 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v62i1.5091 | © 2020 Pradeep Ashokcoomar, Raisuyah Bhagwan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 January 2020 | Published: 21 July 2020

About the author(s)

Pradeep Ashokcoomar, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Emergency Health Services, Durban, South Africa
Raisuyah Bhagwan, Community Health Studies, Faculty of Health Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa


Background: The transfer of critically ill neonates has escalated in developing countries. This calls for greater awareness of the needs of mothers who are often overlooked while clinical attention is prioritised in relation to the neonate. The objective of the study was to understand the emotional and clinical needs of mothers during the transfer process.

Methods: Using a qualitative research approach, the study sought the views of mothers who were involved in emergency transfers. In-depth interviews were held with seven mothers. In addition, data from interviews with seven neonatologists and data from focus group discussions with 35 advanced life paramedics, were included.

Results: What emerged was that both the clinical and emotional needs of mothers were overlooked during the transfer which resulted in acute distress. Moreover, the study found that paramedics lacked preparedness to deal with the psychological needs of mothers and often overlooked their physiological condition as well.

Conclusion: It is crucial that greater sensitivity towards both the clinical and emotional needs of mothers be prioritised during neonatal transfers.


neonates; pre-hospital; mothers; emergency medical care; clinical and emotional needs of mothers


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