Family-Centered Developmental Care

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100px Q&ASupport4 Q&A

What are four ways parents can support their babies’ developing brain during their NICU stay?

  1. Engage in kangaroo holding (skin-to-skin care) as often as is possible per the recommendations of the medical team.
  2. Talk, sing, and read to their baby.
  3. Provide breastmilk, and when the baby is ready, breastfeed if at all possible.
  4. Safeguard their baby’s sleep by letting her rest when needed. Give parents guidance as to when is a good time to touch, hold, and interact with their baby.



100px resourcesResources

Recommendations for Family-Centered Developmental Care:  Read just the recommendations by the Workgroup on Psychosocial Support of NICU Parents, or read the full article from the December, 2015 Supplement to Journal of Perinatology.

Bibliography on Family-Centered Developmental Care: This contains a comprehensive listing of references on family-centered developmental care, compiled by the National Perinatal Association Workgroup on Recommendations for Psychosocial Support of NICU Parents.

Patient- and Family-Centered Care and the Pediatrician’s Role from 2012, AAP Policy Statement

Ensuring Culturally Effective Pediatric Care: Implications for Education and Health Policy from 2004, AAP Policy Statement

For inspiration, watch our “Imagine” video, in which we reimagine what it would be like if NICUs were transformed to NIPUs, or Neonatal Intensive Parenting Units.  Sing along!  Debuted at the 2016 Vermont Oxford Quality Congress.


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Seven Core Measures of Neuroprotective Family-Centered Developmental Care: Creating an Infrastructure for Implementation, by Raylene Phillips, MD,ICBLC, FABM, FAAP; NAINR. 2015;15(3):87-90.

Transformative Nursing in the NICU: Trauma-informed Age-Appropriate Care, by Mary Coughlin, RN, MS, NNP.  This excellent book contains critical information for NICU nursing care practices.

Advancing the Practice of Patient- and Family-Centered Care: How to Get Started (PDF) — a toolkit for hospitals from the Institute for Patient- and Family- Centered Care.

Changing Hospital “Visiting” Policies and Practices: Supporting Family Presence and Participation (PDF) — provides guidance and a policy template for supporting unlimited access to family members, including children, during a hospital stay, developed by the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care.

A Curriculum for Patient-Family Centered Care:  how to transform a hospital’s culture to more fully embrace patient- and family-centered care.  This a resource provided by the North Carolina Perinatal Quality Collaborative.

Join the Kangaroo Challenge, sponsored by Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, Canada.  This is an annual “Kangaroo-a-Thon” in which hospitals compete to see which can achieve the highest number of hours of kangaroo care per eligible baby during the two weeks preceding Kangaroo Care Day, May 15th.

Here is a Roadmap for a QI project to improve rates of Kangaroo Care in your NICU, as described by the team at U Mass Memorial Hospital.

Three Ways to Instantly Relieve Your Baby’s Pain, a video from the Canadian Centre for Pediatric Pain Research featuring NICU mom Jack Hourigan.



100px organizationsOrganizations

National Association of Neonatal Therapists, an organization for neonatal occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech language pathologists.

NIDCAP (Neonatal Individualized Developmental Care Program)

Your NICU Baby provides an online solution for parenting education in the NICU.  There are over 60 brief (1-4 minute) videos and over 30 downloadable handouts for parents.  Information about developmental care, parental well-being, medical diagnoses, and information important to discharge planning are included.  Videos are in both English and Spanish.  This program is available to hospitals by subscription at the link above.



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Are you interested in having someone speak to your staff, organization, or network about best practices in family-centered developmental care? Click on the icon to go to our Speaker’s Bureau page to learn more about these speakers.

Jenene Craig, PhD, OTR/L, occupational therapist

Cris Glick, MD, neonatologist

Erika Goyer, National Perinatal Association, family advocate

Raylene Phillips, MD, neonatologist