Design strategies that provide a better environment for preterm infants
Preterm infants are born during the most crucial phase of brain development, meant to occur in utero in preparation for birth at term. Instead, with preterm birth, this complex developmental process occurs in a hospital setting that is far different from the expected environment in utero.
In this presentation I will talk about the many challenges the Newborn Intensive Care setting presents to normal brain development, and will suggest design strategies that provide a better environment for preterm infants. In particular, we will develop the case for encouraging family participation in the care of the preterm infant, and especially for prolonged and intimate maternal-infant interaction. Even the needs of the caregivers for an appropriate environment cannot be forgotten, so I will address these concepts and concerns as well, in an attempt to present a design strategy (utilizing the single family room concept) that meets the needs of the babies, families, and caregivers.
Robert White, MD is head of the Newborn ICU at Memorial Hospital, South Bend Indiana, USA.
Presentation at the Conference Child-Centred Care = Family-Centred Care, organised by Kind en Ziekenhuis , the Dutch member association of EACH.
Rotterdam, December 1, 2008.