The evolution of family-centered care: From supporting parent-delivered interventions to a model of family integrated care

Birth Defects Res. 2019 Sep 1;111(15):1044-1059. doi: 10.1002/bdr2.1521. Epub 2019 May 21.


There is increasing recognition that parents play a critical role in promoting the health outcomes of low birthweight and preterm infants. Despite a large body of literature on interventions and models to support family engagement in infant care, parent involvement in the delivery of care for such infants is still restricted in many neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). In this article, we propose a taxonomy for classifying parent-focused NICU interventions and parent-partnered care models to aid researchers, clinical teams, and health systems to evaluate existing and future approaches to care. The proposed framework has three levels: interventions to support parents, parent-delivered interventions, and multidimensional models of NICU care that explicitly incorporate parents and partners in the care of their preterm or low birthweight infant. We briefly review the available evidence for interventions at each level and highlight the strong level of research evidence to support the parent-delivered intervention of skin-to-skin contact (also known as the Kangaroo Care position) and for the Kangaroo mother care and family integrated care models of NICU care. We suggest directions for future research and model implementation to improve and scale-up parent partnership in the care of NICU infants.

Keywords: Kangaroo mother care; family centered care; family integrated care; neonatal intensive care unit; parents; preterm infants; skin-to-skin care; skin-to-skin contact.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / methods*
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / trends*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Kangaroo-Mother Care Method / methods
  • Male
  • Parents
  • Patient-Centered Care / methods*
  • Pregnancy