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Social media as a beneficial tool to support preterm infants and parents

Authors: MarjanGhazisaeedi, SeiedeSedighehSeiedFarajollah, FatemehNayeri, ElhamMaserat, Leila Keikha, Hamid Bouraghiand Mostafa Sheykhotayefeh

Int J Med Res Health Sci.356-367 | pdf PDF Full Text

Home care, continuous follow-up, and endless post discharge support play vital role in preventing the emergence of mental and
physical disabilities and death among preterm infants. Providing necessary care and support for such infants requires huge
financial and human resources and exposes heavy costs on hygiene and health system. Internet and information sharing
applications, particularly Web 2.0, and social media present innovative techniques to provide a convenient channel to exchange
necessary information between infants, parents, and caregivers. Despite the increasingly expanding use of social media in health
and medicine, such devices have rarely been applied in more specialized fields, such as the hygiene and health of preterm
infants. Thus, the present study aims at investigating studies published on the experiences of parent in regard with the integration
of social media in the improvement of preterm infant treatment, determining the function of social media in taking better care of
preterm infants, and presenting suggestions for further practical researches in this area of knowledge. This review study was
conducted in 2016. To conduct the study, published articles in the years 2005 to 2016, in English with an emphasis on Social
media and Preterm infants were studied. Search was done in databases including Pubmed, Science Direct, Google Scholar,
Proquest. The collected data were analyzed. The role of social media in three areas of preterm infants care, sharing the
knowledge of clinical professionals, and sharing parenting experiences was clarified. Social media provide the necessary
background for the distribution of the knowledge of medical experts; it also creates the opportunities of exchanging ideas,
sharing parenting experiences, and expanding the knowledge of experts and educated individuals in addition to providing a
stress free environment. The potential of social media in facilitating medical interventions for preterm infants and providing
necessary care and follow-up for these infants from Intensive Care unit into the house can be rightly used. However, such
objectives are not realized unless followings are observed in the design of social media: parent-centeredness, opportunity of
parent education, sharing the knowledge of experts, and counseling; the quality of information, respecting patient privacy, and
localizing socio-cultural options of a medium are significant issues to consider.

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