Family Centered Care versus Family Integrated Care

The Family Centered Care and Family Integrated Care models both encourage parent involvement in the intensive care for their newborn babies (NICU). The reason: better physical, psychological and emotional health of both parents and their children. With the integrated approach, parent involvement is more feasible and profound, leading to significantly better results.

Parent involvement is important

Parents with infants in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) often have increased stress, anxiety, and depression MC. Not only because of their infants’ prematurity or other medical conditions but also because of the complex and technological NICU environment and prolonged physical separation. The Family Centered Care and the Family Integrated Care approach both acknowledge that NICU staff should help parents overcome this, because parents play an important part in healing their newborn babies.

Family Centered Care definition

Family Centered Care in NICU can be defined as a way of planning, delivering and evaluating healthcare that involves the parents more than is traditional. The 4 principles of Family Centered Care are dignity and respect, information exchange, family participation in care, and family cooperation. Instead of separating the parents from their newborn, having them wait outside or at home except for visiting hours, parents are stimulated to be present, interact with and care for their baby, preferably in a single family room. This should decrease parents’ stress, increase mothers’ self esteem, induce a sense of control in parents and improve babies’ healthRA.

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Problems with Family Centered Care

Because of confusion over the degree of parental participation, hospital staff view and practice Family Centered Care very differentlyFR. Thus, the majority of newborn care is delivered by professionals. Because of this, they still automatically treat parents as visitors, bystanders or observers instead of equal partners. To eliminate barriers between parents and their infants, a team of ‘NICU veteran’ parents and healthcare professionals developed the Family Integrated Care approachCH.

A different method

The FICare approach is more actionable than the Family Centered Care concept. It integrates parents fully into the care team. Hospital staff guide and assist the parents as primary caregivers. They set a minimum of hours present and require parents to be there during roundsFR. They encourage, support and teach parents to feed, change diapers, bath, and provide oral medicationsMC. Even when in the NICU, parents learn to provide all care (with the exception of ventilation, adjustment of monitor settings, and administration of IV fluids and IV medications)CH.

Better health outcomes

FICare has better physical and psychological results compared to standard Family Centered Care. As active and primary caregivers, parents feel more confident and less stressedCHPA. Mothers are more able to breastfeed and for a longer periodCHMCFR. With the FICare approach, less hospital attendance is needed. But more importantly, it leads to healthier babies. They grow fasterOBFRCH, have less stressCHFR and receive less antibiotic treatmentsMC. Their mental and psychomotor development is betterFROB. Their NICU stay and hospital stay are shorterPTMC and they are less likely to be readmittedCHPT.

Making Family Centered Care easier

Supporting and educating parents to take an active role in their baby’s care has positive benefits for both baby and family. The Bambi Belt may help the NICU staff to shift from Family Centered Care to Family Integrated Care, by eliminating wired vital signs monitoring. Parents are less afraid to pick up their loved one and can more easily take care of their newborn baby and hold them skin-to-skin. Staff get to safely monitor babies without being afraid of harming babies’ skin. In these ways, the Bambi Belt may help to reduce stress in babies, parents and staff and improves the parent-child bonding.

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