OBJECTIVE: To investigate the influence of support groups on the family of risk newborn infants and on neonatal unit workers. METHODS: We used a qualitative approach, and as theoretical basis, family-centered care. The study was conducted in the neonatal unit of Hospital Prontolinda, in Pernambuco, Brazil. From January to June 2004, 25 meetings were held by the family support group. Data were collected through the observations of participants and through tape-recorded interviews with 13 mothers, six fathers, two grandmothers and 16 healthcare workers. The interviews were submitted to speech content analysis (thematic modality). RESULTS: The analysis revealed that the support group to the family of risk newborns provided parents and family members with information, emotional support and strengthening so that they could come to terms with the birth of their child and his/her admission to the neonatal unit, in addition to enabling parents to take care of the newborn infant. There was interpersonal growth in the interaction between parents, family members, and healthcare workers. CONCLUSIONS: The support group to the family of risk newborns uses an approach that is based on family-centered care. These principles allow restoring parental competence, helping healthcare workers to respect values and feelings of family members, and establishing a collaborative work between parents and healthcare workers in the neonatal unit.
Self-help groups; family; newborns; neonatal intensive care unit