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Philosophy of Care

The NICU at Children's Hospital & Medical Center practices a philosophy of care that is family centered and developmentally supportive to meet the unique individual needs of each infant.

Typically, parents may lose some sense of control when their babies are in the NICU. However, with family-centered care, we involve parents in everyday care-giving by encouraging them to perform tasks such as diaper changes, bottle-feeding, participating in kangaroo care and providing comfort measures when the baby is in distress.

In addition, our unit has been designed to support the developmental needs of premature infants by perfecting the environmental variables and science of nursing care to provide optimal support of their needs. Seeking to mirror the womb for these young preterm infants, our unit minimizes outside stimuli, uses gentle-touch interventions, pain control and other comfort measures such as swaddling and containment to support a baby during care and at rest. Our staff promotes family bonding and participation in everyday care giving. Each infant (unless sharing with a twin sibling) has his own room; sound level is kept at a minimum; dimmers are used as well as indirect lighting, filtered shades and darkened rooms at night. Overnight accommodations also are available for parents.

Our comprehensive approach to care is developmentally supportive and individualized to an infant's goals and level of stability so that each infant may realize optimal health outcomes. Research shows that babies who receive individualized developmental care have improved growth and weight gain, decreased days on the ventilator, decreased severity of lung disease and fewer medical complications as well as shorter length of stays. Additional research on long-term outcomes has shown that babies also show better intellectual processing and improved neuropsychological functioning at later ages.