The Topic Expert Group on Infant- and family-centred developmentally supportive care works on topics such as the physical environment (e.g., supportive sensory environment), the human environment (e.g., parental involvement in the care of their infant), and systems aspects such as couplet care. This month, we asked Dr Björn Westrup and Professor Pierre Kuhn, the Chair Team of the Topic Expert Group on Infant- and family-centred developmentally supportive care, some questions on important issues in this field.
EFCNI: What would you say are the most important topics in the field of Infant- and family-centred developmentally supportive care?
Björn: Family access: To open the neonatal units 24 hours a day for parents and significant others that are designated by the parents. Provide resources for parents and family members to stay without interruption with their infant in the units (or adjacent to the NICU) 24 hours a day, when possible according to family considerations.
Pierre: Access is essential but parents need also to be supported in order to be involved in the care of their infants, as primary caregivers from the beginning of hospitalisation.
EFCNI: Why are they so important?
Björn: Without family access there can obviously not be any Infant- and family-centred developmentally supportive care (IFDSC).The infant has its right of having the parent present during all phases of hospitalisation.
Pierre: Supporting family access and involving the parents in the care of their infants is a matter of ethics and of human rights. It is essential to help adjusting the hospital environment to the infants’ sensory competencies and needs, support the bonding process and strengthen self confidence in parenting.
EFCNI: What are the major challenges in Infant- and family-centred developmentally supportive care in Europe?
Björn: It requires a mind shift of hospital administration and clinical leadership.
Pierre: It needs also changes in the philosophy of care within the team.
EFCNI: How would you wish the field to develop? What is your wish for the future of the field of Infant- and family-centred developmentally supportive care?
Björn: My dream is that all nurseries in Europe will implement all standards in IFDSC in 20 years’ time.
Pierre: The sustainable dissemination of this holistic approach in all European perinatal settings is of course also my dream, with the final goal to improve all medical outcomes of preterm birth.