Effectiveness of Alberta Family-Integrated Care on Neonatal Outcomes: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial

J Clin Med. 2021 Dec 14;10(24):5871. doi: 10.3390/jcm10245871.


Family-Integrated Care (FICare) empowers parents to play an active role as a caregiver for their infant in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This model of care is associated with improved neonatal outcomes, such as improved weight gain and higher breastfeeding rates at discharge in infants admitted to level III NICUs; however, its effectiveness in level II NICUs remains unproven. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the model on neonatal outcomes in a cluster randomized controlled trial conducted in 10 level II NICUs randomized to Alberta FICare or standard care. Mothers and their preterm infants born between 32+0 and 34+6 weeks' gestational age were included. The primary outcome was the proportion of infants who regained their birth weight (BW) after 14 days of life. The analysis included 353 infants/308 mothers at Alberta FICare sites and 365 infants/306 mothers at standard care sites. There was no difference in the proportion of infants who had regained their BW by 14 days between the groups. A lack of perceived improved weight gain trajectory for those in the FICare group is attributed to a shorter length of hospital stay and infants being discharged prior to regaining BW.

Keywords: family-centred care; family-integrated care; health services research; moderate and late preterm infant; neonatal intensive care unit; newborn.