Quality Improvement Initiative for Family-Centered Care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of a Tertiary Hospital in South Africa
The introduction of family-centered care in the neonatal intensive care unit was identified as a high priority to facilitate bonding and attachment with potential positive outcomes for the parents and infants. The aim of the study was, therefore, to develop and implement a quality improvement initiative to foster family-centered care in a tertiary neonatal intensive care unit from birth onward. A pretest posttest intervention design was used using mixed methods over 3 phases to determine the perceived level of family-centered care according to healthcare professionals and parents using self-administered questionnaires; to develop and implement a quality improvement initiative to enhance family-centered care in a neonatal intensive care unit using a nominal group technique, followed by the quality improvement process; and to evaluate the outcomes of the initiative by repeating the self-administered questionnaires to parents and staff. Various activities were introduced as part of the initiative such as early breastfeeding, early introduction of parents to their infant, open visitation policy, and involvement in caring activities. The perceived level of care according to staff and parents increased. It is expected to enhance bonding and attachment between the infants and their parents, with consequential long-term positive outcomes.