Family-centered developmental care practices and research: what will the next century bring?

J Perinat Neonatal Nurs. 2011 Apr-Jun;25(2):165-70. doi: 10.1097/JPN.0b013e31821a6706.


Family-centered developmental care is an essential element of neonatal intensive care. It is of particular importance when the infant is vulnerable and at greater risk for poor outcomes complicated by a family unit that is easily challenged by the unique needs of the infant. Yet, all infants and their families deserve this philosophy of caregiving. Family-centered developmental care must continue to be tested through research to determine which interventions work, what does not work, and which interventions need further refinement. This article provides a brief history of where we have been in neonatal caregiving, provides definitions for family-centered developmental caregiving and offers some "predictions" about where these practices need to be in the next century. Research questions and strategies are also addressed. As we continue to forge ahead integrating this philosophy into the caregiving arena, it is important to remember that there are many unanswered questions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caregivers / organization & administration
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Continuity of Patient Care / organization & administration*
  • Family Nursing / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Infant Care / methods
  • Infant Care / trends
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Male
  • Nursing Research / standards
  • Nursing Research / trends*
  • Program Evaluation
  • United States