Inside the NICU

Involving NICU families in preemies’ care helps babies and families: Study

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NICU: Study
Involving families in care
A large Canadian-led study shows “Family Integrated Care” helps both babies and families.
The study:
  • Nearly 1,800 babies born at 33 weeks or earlier, at 26 NICUs in three countries were involved.
  • Participating NICUs were randomly assigned to provide Family Integrated care, or standard care, for babies.
  • Parents who participated spent at least six hours a day, five days a week at their baby’s bedside.
  • Families attended education sessions, provided routine care to their babies, and participated in daily rounds.
The four main pillars of Family Integrated Care are staff education and support, parent education, NICU environment and psychosocial support.
What we learned:
  • Weight gain: Babies in the family-integrated group gained significantly more weight per day.
  • Stress level: Families reported having lower levels of stress and anxiety compared to the standard care group.
  • Partnership: Parents were considered ‘part of the health care team’ with the family- integrated approach.
Mothers in the family-integrated group were more likely to exclusively provide breast milk for their babies after leaving the hospital.

About the author

Marie Sanderson

Marie Sanderson is a Senior Communications Advisor at Sunnybrook.

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