Like most other illnesses or injuries, babies born prematurely are at higher risk for many other physical and developmental disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, vision problems and learning disabilities. Parents of NICU babies also experience high levels of stress and anxiety as well as traumatic stress reactions and PTSD from both the trauma of an early birth and knowing the many risks their baby faces.

Understanding these physical risks and emotional distress of the parents, doctors at Mount Sinai developed a pilot program allowing for more active parental involvement in the care of NICU babies. Parents in the program helped to bathe and diaper their baby, take temperatures and other distress measures, provide skin-to-skin care, and participate in rounds and other medical care team communications.  Results of the pilot program included a reduction in parental stress levels as well as a strengthen immune system for the baby and 27% decline in treatment errors.  With these promising results, other health systems are looking to incorporate similar programs in their NICUs.

Join the conversation on our Facebook page about incorporating family centered care in the NICU or other hospital departments.