Neurobehavioral Assessment: Facilitating Parenting within Newborn Intensive Care and Beyond

A 45 minute presentation by gretchen Lawhon, PhD, RN, FAAN, followed by a 30 minute Question & Answer session moderated by Deborah Buehler, PhD.

The Synactive Model provides the theoretical foundation for two neurobehavioral assessments utilized in the newborn intensive care unit. The first Neurobehavioral assessment is an observational methodology of the Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP) that is evidence based and provides each infant the most individualized approach to enhance self regulation. Because the infant’s behavior is continuously observable, this leads to an emotionally supportive plan of care supporting parents in their relationship as they support and nurture their son or daughter. Once the infant is more clinically stable and closer to going home, the Assessment of Preterm Infant Behavior (APIB) as a comprehensive and systematic evaluation, is utilized to support parents in gaining a greater understanding of their infant’s vulnerability and strength. The APIB is utilized both in the newborn intensive care unit prior to the infant’s discharge as well as in the transitional follow up program to continue to reinforce parents’ understanding of their son or daughter’s behavior and strategies to support ongoing maturation and development.

Upon completion of this educational activity, participants should be able to:

  1. Identify the subsystems of the synactive theory that are integral to neurobehavioral assessment
  2. List at least three strategies to enhance parental pleasure and pride in an infant requiring intensive care
  3. Describe three examples of supporting parents through better understanding of their son or daughter’s behavior

gretchen Lawhon, PhD, RN, FAAN, Master NIDCAP Trainer, Clinical Nurse Scientist, Newborn Special Care Associates, PC, Abington, PA.

Dr. gretchen Lawhon is a clinical nurse scientist who has worked in the area of newborn intensive care for over 40 years and has over 45 years experience as a nurse. Currently she is the Clinical Nurse Scientist with Newborn special care associates, pc at Abington Jefferson Health and a NIDCAP Master Trainer with West Coast NIDCAP and APIB Center at University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. She was a cofounder of the NIDCAP program and co-investigator in several of the early research studies supporting an individualized developmentally supportive approach to care of infants and families in the newborn intensive care unit. Dr. Lawhon’s own dissertation was Facilitation of Parenting Within the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at the University of Washington School of Nursing. She has remained involved in early intervention outreach. Dr. Lawhon has extensive experience as a clinical nurse scientist and has authored numerous articles in her areas of expertise.

CEUs for RNs provided by Therapeutic Media. Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP13879 for 1.0 contact hour