In the following you will find a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers about the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (ESCNH) and their development.
More information about the project is also available in the project report.
The vision behind the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (ESCNH) is that all babies receive the best possible treatment and care, no matter where in Europe they are born. Currently, care and treatment practices of preterm and ill infants differ between European countries and even between hospitals within the same country. The main output is the development of reference standards for the care of preterm and ill infants. In the long run, the ESCNH’s mission is to ensure equitable and high quality of care throughout Europe by facilitating and harmonising neonatal care and its neighbouring medical areas.
The European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (ESCNH) aim to address the disparities in provision and quality of care existing in Europe by developing a comprehensive set of reference standards, which cover the most important topics associated with preterm birth and neonatal morbidity. The ESCNH are intended to be used as a source for the national development of respective binding and implemented guidelines, protocols, directives, or laws (depending on the national and local situation).
A group of more than 220 interdisciplinary experts, including healthcare professionals from e.g. obstetrics, neonatology, paediatrics, nursery, midwifery, and psychology, as well as experts from other professions such as architects and patient representatives from more than 30 countries committed to the project and dedicated their free time to develop the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (ESCNH). Through its multi-stakeholder approach, the perspective of parents, healthcare professionals, and relevant third parties were equally considered. Industry partners were involved in the project by supporting it financially. Their representatives could join the Chair Committee meetings in an observing role.
The European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (ESCNH) are divided into eleven overarching topics (11 Topic Expert Groups) which cover the most important subjects associated with preterm birth and neonatal morbidity. Within each Topic Expert Group (TEG), several standards were developed. The ESCNH include topics around birth and transfer, cover the stay in the NICU, and continue until after discharge into early childhood. Challenging issues like ethical decision-making and palliative care are also addressed in one Topic Expert Group. You can find an overview of all topics here: Topics
The European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (ESCNH) were developed in a peer review process, involving more than 220 interdisciplinary experts from all over the world. In the link below you can find a graphic that illustrates the complex development process of the ESCNH starting with the decision about the topics up to their official launch, and beyond, including the planned lifecycle and the development of new standards: Methods
Each of the 11 key areas (topics) is assigned to one Topic Expert Group (TEG), the project’s thematic transdisciplinary working and writing groups that develop the respective standards related to each topic. Every TEG consists of several members (experts from different disciplines and parent representatives) and is led by a TEG Chair Team.
The Chair Committee is the central decision-making body of the project. It consists of 35 members: 25 Chairs of the different TEGs, eight members of the EFCNI’s Parent Advisory Board and the two EFCNI Executive Board members. Between 2015-2018, the Chair Committee met annually for important consultations, discussions, and decisions. Time sensitive decisions were discussed virtually, if needed, and taken by online surveys. The Chair Committee steered the project, defined the objectives, its design and methodology, developed the standard template, decided on the issues for standardisation and their prioritisation as well as discussed and voted on the developed standards.
The European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (ESCNH) are originally published in English. As the local situation is different in each country, the standards cannot simply be translated word by word but need to be adapted to the local circumstances. Nevertheless, having the ESCNH only available in English is a major language barrier that impairs their national implementation. Therefore, first approaches to translating parts of the standards are ongoing: the information brochure on the standards which summarises the project and gives an overview about the standards is already available in several languages for download. This brochure can be used to get an overview of the ESCNH and facilitates the prioritisation process, of which standards should be implemented first on a national level. Once this prioritisation has happened, selected standards might be considered for translation into local languages.
The ESCNH are also fully available in Italian and partially available in Ukrainian.
If you are interested in a translation of certain documents, please get in touch with us.
The European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (ESCNH) are financially supported by the industry partners AstraZeneca, Baxter, GE Healthcare, Nestlé Nutrition Institute, Prolacta Bioscience and Sanofi Pasteur. AbbVie was partner from 2013 – 2020, Philips Avent from 2014 – 2019, Philips from 2018 – 2019, Takeda from 2019 – 2020, Dräger from 2013 – 2015 and Shire from 2014 – 2018. The industry partners do not have any influence on the content of the ESCNH.
The European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (ESCNH) use a geographical definition of Europe instead of the limitation to the EU member states.
The initial set of the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (ESCNH) were launched in a workshop entitled “Mission: possible – Take responsibility for newborn health in Europe” at the European Parliament in Brussels on 28 November 2018. More than 100 politicians, experts, supporters, parent representatives as well as several key stakeholders and speakers from organisations like the World Health Organization (WHO) joined the launch event. Find out more about the launch event here.
The European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (ESCNH) were initiated and coordinated by EFCNI, a European umbrella parent organisation. Including European parent representatives as equal partners from the beginning, the parental voice and perspective regarding the care and treatment of preterm babies significantly influenced the ESCNH and their objectives. Parent representatives are actively involved in all stages: Representatives of parent organisations are represented in every Topic Expert Group (TEG), and thus are directly involved in drafting the ESCNH. A Parents’ Knowledge Forum, involving parent representatives from the whole world, was established, which can be consulted by all TEGs on specific questions. Also, eight parent representatives are full members of the Chair Committee, the decision-making body of the project. In total, more than 50 parent organisations from all around the world are showing their support of the ESCNH with their logo.
Parent organisations bundle the knowledge and first-hand experience of parents and other close relatives and are involved to represent preterm and ill born children and their families. They know what it means to care for a baby that is born preterm or ill. From their personal experiences and the experiences of the families they work with, they have acquired a wealth of knowledge about life in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and the challenges after discharge. These experiences are of great importance and add a new perspective that is often overseen by the expertise of healthcare professions.
Currently, more than 170 healthcare professional societies/organisations and parent organisations support the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (ESCNH). A list of these organisations is available here.
In the long run, the mission is to ensure equitable and high-quality care throughout Europe by facilitating and harmonising neonatal care and its neighbouring medical areas. By being an official supporter of the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (ESCNH), you show that your organisation endorses the content of the standards and supports the implementation of the ESCNH in your country. Other organisations from your country might also be supporting the standards. This might facilitate the creation of coalitions with them. Only together, you can push forward the national implementation of the ESCNH.
To become a supporting organisation, please use the contact details on this website or write an e-mail to us explaining why your organisation wants to support the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (ESCNH). As a supporting organisation, your logo will be displayed as an official partner and will be included on all future printed as well as digital materials of the ESCNH.
Please have a look at our toolkit, which can be downloaded here, to support the national implementation process in your country.
No, joining the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (ESCNH) as a supporting organisation will not cause your organisation any costs.
If you have sent us an official letter of intent stating that you support the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health and we have confirmed your request, you can call yourself a “supporting organisation of the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health”.