Enhancing NICU parent engagement and empowerment

Semin Pediatr Surg. 2018 Feb;27(1):19-24. doi: 10.1053/j.sempedsurg.2017.11.004. Epub 2017 Nov 6.


Within the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), parent engagement and empowerment are of critical importance, particularly when infants are at risk of developing severe complications, such as necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). Stakeholders within the NICU, including the fragile patients, families, clinicians, staff, and administration, benefit when parents are a valued member of their baby's care team. The 2017 NEC Symposium explored the experiences of families whose infants were impacted by NEC, the barriers to effective partnership, and promising solutions. Parents want to participate in their baby's care, and crave honest, timely, comprehensive information regarding their baby's health and potential outcomes. Clinicians and staff should implement a specific set of Family-Centered Care policies and practices within the NICU to foster a culture of collaboration with parents of premature and fragile infants.

Keywords: Communication in the NICU; Family-centered-care; Human milk; NEC; NICU; Necrotizing enterocolitis; Parent engagement; Preemies; Premature infants.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / therapy
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal*
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Professional-Family Relations*