Guidance Around the COVID-19 Pandemic


The NIDCAP Federation International (NFI) holds as a primary goal the support of parents as the optimal caregivers of their infant. Parental presence, including skin-to-skin holding and breastfeeding, and active collaboration with their hospitalized infant and the health care team, enhances the infant’s neurodevelopment.

Despite increasingly stringent rules for access to hospitalized newborns and infants due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFI recognizes that the safety and health of infants, parents and the health care team may require modification of guidelines and policies. Screening for fever and other symptoms of illness now becomes more important than ever before.

The NFI recommends that parental presence, active participation and advocacy continue to be considered a unique aspect of care that shortens the duration of hospitalization and improves other outcomes. The NFI commends the valiant efforts of health care teams around the world in their support and care to infants, their families and one another during these unprecedented times. The NFI sends support, strength and hope as we navigate this challenging pandemic crisis.

Board of Directors
NIDCAP Federation International
March 31, 2020


Model of the NIDCAP Nursery:

From Self-Assessment to NIDCAP Nursery Certification

Model of NIDCAP Nursery and its Figure Legend Final Oct2018-1

(Click the image to download the figure and its legend)

Figure Legend

The figure graphically describes the relationship of training and support opportunities to nursery change from conventional care to consistently well-integrated NIDCAP care. It depicts the roles and relationships of newborn nursery components and the support opportunities offered to nursery professionals and staff engaged in this change process.

The infant and family are depicted at the nursery’s core, cared for by the professionals and staff within the nursery and hospital. The hospital is understood as part of a greater community, a community from which infants and families come and to which they hope to return. The core of the figure shows the infant-parent relationship as it moves from one of infant isolation from the parents (Conventional Care; bottom) to one of full emotional and physical integration of infant and parents (NIDCAP Care; top) within the nursery.

The Right Vertical Axis Supports for Nursery Change depicts the four main components that support the process of Nursery Change from Nursery Self-Assessment (bottom) to NIDCAP Nursery Certification (top): 1. Interdisciplinary Goal Setting and Planning (all professionals and staff as well as parents); 2. Introductory/Foundational Education (all professionals and staff); 3. NIDCAP & APIB Training and Nursery Assessment Review (core teams); and 4. Continued Mentorship for Self-Assessment, Reflection, Education and Training.

The Left Vertical Axis Process of NIDCAP Care Implementation shows the progression from Conventional Care (bottom) to Consistently Well-Integrated NIDCAP Care (top).

The Two Curved Ribbons show the continued interactive processes of the nursery’s engagement in the Philosophy and Implemention of Care with Self-Assessment, Reflection and Action.


NIDCAP – NIDCAP stands for Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program. The NIDCAP Federation International (NFI) promotes the advancement of the philosophy and science of NIDCAP care and assures the quality of NIDCAP education, training and certification for professionals and hospital systems. (NFI Vision Statement, 29 April 2017). The NFI envisions a global society in which all hospitalized newborns and their families receive care in the evidence-based NIDCAP model. NIDCAP supports development, enhances strengths and minimizes stress for infants, family and staff who care for them. It is individualized and uses a relationship-based, family-integrated approach that yields measurable outcomes. (NFI Mission Statement, 20 October 2017).

Traditional CareInfants are considered patients. Parents are considered visitors. Family Members are considered bystanders, occasional visitors. Staff and Professionals are schedule-driven, task and protocol oriented. Nursery and Hospital Environment & Culture are focused on efficiency, occupancy, productivity, cost effectiveness, and consumer/customer satisfaction.

NIDCAP CareInfants are considered individuals, persons, collaborators in care, supported and nurtured by their parents. Parents are considered infants’ key nurturers, advocates and caregivers as well as collaborators in care decisions. Family Members are considered primary supporters to parents and infants. Professionals and Staff are partners in care with infants, parents and family members. Nursery and Hospital Environment & Culture are focused on supportive effectiveness, patient and family relationship orientation, and the promotion of individualized health, growth, strengths and development.

Introductory Foundational NIDCAP Education Opportunities: Opportunities include the NFI Nursery Foundation Education Program; FINE — Family and Infant Neurodevelopmental Education; the Infant Behavioral Assessment and Intervention Program – IBAIP; as well as other NFI-endorsed Conferences and Courses such as the SOFFI -Supporting Oral Feeding in Fragile Infants Method Courses; the Annual Stockholm Conferences on Ultra-Early Intervention; the Annual Meetings of the EADC — European Association of Developmental Care; the Annual Midwest Developmental Care Conferences; and the Kfar Saba, Israel Introductory and Advanced Courses in Family-Centered Developmental Care According to NIDCAP.

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