SPOKANE, Wash. – Some parents taking their babies home for the first time are overwhelmed by this question: what do I do now?

Neonatal intensive care nurse Jean Schlittenhart ¬used to provide answers when she taught a discharge class at Deaconess Medical Center in Spokane. But “I found that only 50 percent of parents would come to the live presentation,” she said.

So the Washington State University College of Nursing master’s degree candidate developed a 35-minute DVD that parents can watch at the hospital when they have time. It provides information on topics ranging from bathing an infant to how to recognize when something’s wrong.

“If parents watch the DVD early on they’re able to put into practice the things they’re learning…and I think it’s increased their bonding and handling of the infant, too.” Schlittenhart said.

Her tracking efforts have shown that there is a fair amount of late night, weekend and holiday use of the DVD at Deaconess.

A Spanish-language version of the video is currently in production. In addition, Schlittenhart hopes to obtain grant funding to produce a 15-minute take-home version of the video to provide to at-risk parents and to make copies available to smaller hospitals in rural settings.