Design of a device to provide visual stimulation to infants confined in incubators

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of providing stationary and nonstationary visual stimuli to preterm infants by designing a device that met basic hospital safety requirements and fit within the incubator. A sample of 20 preterm infants were observed. Differences in responses between baseline, stationary, and nonstationary conditions were recorded using state, focal point, time attending, heart and respiratory rates. Each infant was observed on two separate days. Each observation period was divided into three 2-minute segments. On the intervention day, data were collected in a baseline, stimulus, stimulus sequence. On the nonintervention day, only baseline data were collected in the three 2-minute time· segments. Parametric and nonparametric analyses revealed significant differences in state, focal point, and heart rate between observation days. Results of state, focal point, and heart rate indicate a response to the stimulus during the first stimulus exposure period. Significant effects in state, focal point, time, period, and heart rate during the second exposure period indicate an orienting response. It is suggested that after a period of response and reorganization, the infants were able to orient to the device during the second exposure period. These results also suggest that this visual stimulation device may be helpful in long-term visual stimulation studies and interventions.