OBJECTIVES: Microneedle (MN) arrays could offer a pain-free, minimally invasive approach to monitoring. This is envisaged to be particularly beneficial for younger patients, but parents' views to date are unknown. The aim of this study was to explore parental perceptions of MN-mediated ISF monitoring, as an alternative to the use of conventional blood sampling, and to understand the important factors for technique approval.
METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with parents with recent experience of a premature birth. Recruitment was through the Northern Ireland premature infant charity, Tinylife. Interviews progressed until data saturation was reached and thematic analysis employed.
KEY FINDINGS: The study included 16 parents. Parental support for MN-mediated monitoring was evident, alongside the unpopularity of traditional blood sampling in neonates. Factors facilitating MN approval included the opportunity for pain reduction, the simplicity of the procedure, the potential for increased parental involvement and the more favourable appearance, owing to the minute size of MNs and similarities with a sticking plaster. Confirmation of correct application, a pain-free patch removal and endorsement from trusted healthcare professionals were important.
CONCLUSION: These findings will inform researchers in the field of MN development and enlighten practitioners regarding parental distress resulting from conventional blood sampling. Further work is necessary to understand MN acceptability among practitioners. This work should assist in the development of an acceptable MN device and facilitate the reduction of parental distress.