There are an estimated 15 million babies born

There are an estimated 15 million babies born preterm every
year, and the number is still rising. In 2015, 1 million deaths were attributed
to preterm birth complications for children under 5 years old. (Liu, et al.,
2016).
Statistics also showed that three-quarters of these deaths could be prevented
with cost-effective interventions (WHO, 2017). With the rising
cost of medical care, families with preterm infants are truly in need of for
cost effective treatments and support. Promising research such as the one conducted by Diesel and
Ercole is an example of cost effective interventions that may potentially
increase the survival rate of preterm infants. Data from the research looked at
factors such as vital signs where heart rate and respiratory rate. The research
also looked at the reduction of pain, temperature, and weight gain as measures
to improve the quality of care for preterm babies. The
methodolgy which Diesel and Ercold deployed in the research was to assign
preterm infants into 2 groups. The control group would only receive standard
nursing care. The intervention group differed in that they received a morning
and afternoon 15-minute treatment their first 5 consecutive days with an unscented
flaxseed pillow which was placed in the center of infants’ upper back or chest.
Vital signs and pain level would be assessed pre- and post- treatment for
intervention group, and the same goes for the control group. Data is collected
during the entire 5 days to measure the preterm infants’ activity. In
adddition, body weight measures were recorded daily for at least 25 days.The
research results revealed that the intervention group had significant decrease
in heart rate and respiratory rate than control group, and some decrease in
pain level and temperature. In addition, the intervention group regained the
intial weight loss back faster than the control group in first three weeks of
life. Although the average weight became similar after a period of time.  Furthermore, the amount of awake time and
mobile time of the intervention group was more than the control group, it,
however, did not have significant effect on the soothability of the infants. The
length of their hospital stay seemed had no correlation with the soothability.
Both groups had comparable weights at hospital discharge. The
initial results of the research would suggest a simple application of a pillow
benefited the well being of preterm infants. Futher analysis and research with
differing variables may provide more conclusive results. Since a flaxseed
pillow is affordable for most families, the noninvasive treatment would not
cause additional stress and stimulation to preterm infants. Perhaps, additional
reserch with a different focus and criteria of measure may even address the
question whether such a low cost treatment would increase the survival
rate of preterm infants.

Since
the research only entailed treatment that only lasts for 5 days from infants’
birth, one may ask whether prolong treatment would benefit preterm infants’
development? In addition, other measures such as reflexes and the ability to follow
a visual stimulation of infants’ growth milestones could be incorporated to
assess preterm infants’ growth and well being. While the focus may centerd
entirely on the preterm infant, may we not forget the suffering parents.
Perhaps a flaxseed pillow for the preterm infants, may also provide comfort, relief
and even a sense of empowerment for the despondent family members. 

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