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. Parent presence and active collaboration with their hospitalized infant and the health care team, enhances the infant’s neurodevelopment.1

The NFI acknowledges it is critical to continually reflect on the balance of safety and health concerns with known best practices to support optimal outcomes as communities, healthcare systems, hospital professionals, and families with hospitalized infants navigate COVID-19. The substantial benefits of parental participation in the care of their hospitalized infants, including skin-to-skin holding and breastfeeding,2-6 are increasingly considered to outweigh the potential risks of the transmission of COVID-19.

It is the NFI’s position based on the research available, that non-separation of parent-infant dyads and parents’ active participation in infant care are essential to mitigate sequelae for hospitalized infants during these critical periods of development.7-9

Board of Directors
NIDCAP Federation International
August 17, 2020

Please click here for the full statement with references


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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