In the past few decades neonatal practices have evolved and families have taken on an increasingly larger role in the care of their babies in intensive care units around the world. State-of-the-art NICU design now includes areas specifically for families to room-in with their babies as well as workplace configurations which allow for easier parent integration at the incubator or warmer bedside.
This partnership model of care is frequently referred to as Family-Centered Care (FCC). Research has shown various benefits of FFC from reduced infant mortality rates to better infant-parent bonding. Incorporating the parents as part of the caregiving team early also increases parents' confidence which makes for a smoother transition when the baby is able to go home.
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Families with premature babies sometimes have difficulty bonding, however, this is crucial to the child's healthy development on many levels. Dr. Prof. Egbert Herting from the University Clinic in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, talks about ways to support and strengthen this bond.
The kangaroo care method developed in Columbia has many benefits. Hilary Whyte, Professor of Pediatrics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, discusses when this type of therapy can be used and what benefits it offers.
When a baby is in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the patient family feels instantly isolated in a foreign environment and beholden to the team for permission to have any connection with their child.