Implementing family-integrated care in the NICU: a parent education and support program

Adv Neonatal Care. 2013 Apr;13(2):115-26. doi: 10.1097/ANC.0b013e318285fb5b.


The purpose of this study was to develop, implement, and evaluate a parent education and support program that enhances family-integrated care in a Canadian neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). A total of 39 mothers of infants born at 35 or fewer weeks' gestation were enrolled in the pilot program. We examined the development, implementation, and qualitative assessment of the education component of a family-integrated care program. We enrolled in groups of 4 or 5, the study mothers agreed to attend daily educational sessions, provide care for their infants for at least 8 hours daily, and participate in medical rounds. The educational sessions were provided by staff and veteran parents to assist parents' development of confidence in providing caregiving skills and assuming the role of a primary caregiver for their infants as they moved closer to discharge. Effectiveness of the program was evaluated through anecdotal feedback and a formal evaluation process at discharge. The results indicated that the mothers were provided with the tools to parent their infants in the NICU, recognize their own strengths, increase their problem-solving strategies, and emotionally prepare them to take their infant home. Feedback from the participants provided direction to adapt the program to provide optimal parent support and education. Parental education is a valued and vital component of family-integrated care in the NICU.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Caregivers / education*
  • Curriculum*
  • Humans
  • Infant Care / methods*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal / organization & administration*
  • Neonatal Nursing / methods*
  • Parents / education*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Program Evaluation
  • Social Support*