What is NIDCAP?
Hospitalized newborns are faced with uncertainty due to their preterm birth and/or illness and the intensive care environment can be a shocking place for them. Babies in the newborn intensive unit are exposed to bright lights, cold temperatures, loud sounds, a tangle of tubes and wires, and experiences of discomfort and pain. These experiences may interfere with healthy development, causing serious medical and developmental issues.
NIDCAP, which stands for Newborn Individualized Care and Assessment Program, was developed to support infants and their families in and beyond the intensive care unit. NIDCAP seeks to minimize stressful experiences, separation from parents and support development with consistent caregiving. NIDCAP individualizes care based on the strengths and needs of each infant and family. NIDCAP supports high-risk newborns to reach their full potentials and their parents to be their infants’ advocates, protectors and nurturers.
This caregiving approach is based on in-depth research. Some examples of NIDCAP care’s positive effects on the overall health and development of premature and high-risk infants are:
- Enhanced brain structure and function
- Shortened hospital stays
- Strong weight gain
- Improved behavioral outcome in infancy and at school age
NIDCAP is an extensive worldwide training program for healthcare professionals. Education is provided to understand and respond to infants’ behaviors and support family/infant relationships as critically important for short and long-term health, development and wellbeing. To find out more about NIDCAP go to www.nidcap.org and contact your nearest NIDCAP Training Center!