Individualised developmental care for babies and parents in the NICU: Evidence-based best practice guideline recommendations

Early Hum Dev. 2019 Dec:139:104840. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2019.104840. Epub 2019 Aug 21.


Advances in neonatal care have improved survival of premature and critically ill infants; and while rates of some long-term neurodevelopmental problems in survivors have improved, such as cerebral palsy, there are others such as learning and behavioural difficulties that have not. The goal of improving long term neurodevelopmental morbidity has led to an increased focus on improving developmental care not only in neonatal long term follow- up clinics but within the NICU itself to capture the period of earliest brain neuroplasticity. The application of a systematic approach to improve practice is considered the most effective strategy for implementing neuroprotective developmentally supportive care. The content of this paper incorporates evidence-based systematic reviews to guide clinicians in the application of developmentally supportive interventions.

Keywords: Developmental care; Neonate; Neuroprotective care; Neurosupportive developmental care.

MeSH terms

  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Evidence-Based Practice*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal*
  • Parents* / psychology
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Precision Medicine*
  • Sleep
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic