Improved nurse-parent communication in neonatal intensive care unit: evaluation and adjustment of an implementation strategy

J Clin Nurs. 2014 Dec;23(23-24):3478-89. doi: 10.1111/jocn.12599. Epub 2014 Apr 3.


Aims and objectives: To evaluate and adjust systematic implementation of guided family-centred care in a neonatal intensive care unit.

Background: Family-centred care is valued in neonatal intensive care units internationally, but innovative strategies are needed to realise the principles. Guided family-centred care was developed to facilitate person-centred communication by bridging the gap between theory and practice in family-centred care. Main mechanisms of guided family-centred care are structured dialogue, reflection and person-centred communication.

Design: Qualitative and quantitative data were used to monitor participatory implementation of a systematic approach to training and certification of nurses delivering guided family-centred care.

Methods: Systematic implementation of guided family-centred care included workshops, supervised delivery and certification. Evaluation and adjustment of nurse adherence to guided family-centred care was conducted by monitoring (1) knowledge, (2) delivery, (3) practice uptake and (4) certification.

Results: Implementation was improved by the development of a strategic framework and by adjusting the framework according to the real-life context of a busy neonatal care unit. Promoting practice uptake was initially underestimated, but nurse guided family-centred care training was improved by increasing the visibility of the study in the unit, demonstrating intervention progress to the nurses and assuring a sense of ownership among nurse leaders and nonguided-family-centred-care-trained nurses.

Conclusions: An adjusted framework for guided family-centred care implementation was successful in overcoming barriers and promoting facilitators.

Relevance to clinical practice: Insights gained from our pioneering work might help nurses in a similar context to reach their goals of improving family-centred care.

Keywords: collaboration; communication; family-centred care; family-centred nursing; fidelity assessment; intervention studies; neonatal intensive care; person-centred communication; process assessment; reliability; validity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Certification
  • Communication*
  • Denmark
  • Education
  • Family Nursing*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal*
  • Nurse-Patient Relations*
  • Practice Patterns, Nurses'*
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation