Family-centered Care Improved Neonatal Medical and Neurobehavioral Outcomes in Preterm Infants: Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Background

Family-centered care for preterm infants in Western societies has yielded short- to medium-term benefits. However, the intervention effects have rarely been validated in Eastern societies.

Objective

The aim of this study was to examine whether a family-centered intervention program (FCIP) could improve the short-term medical and neurobehavioral outcomes in preterm infants with very low birth weight (VLBW; a birth weight of <1,500 g) in Taiwan over the outcomes seen with a usual care program (UCP).

Design

This was a multicenter, single-blind, randomized controlled trial study.

Setting

Three medical centers in northern and southern Taiwan were the locations for the study.

Participants

The participants were 251 VLBW preterm infants without severe perinatal complications.

Intervention

The infants were randomly assigned to receive the FCIP or the UCP during hospitalization.

Measurements

Infant morbidities, feeding, growth, and neurobehavioral performance were evaluated during the neonatal period. Parental adherence to interventions was measured in the FCIP group.

Results

The FCIP promoted earlier full enteral feeding (β = -1.1 weeks; 95% CI = -1.9 to -0.2 weeks) and hospital discharge (β = -0.6 week; 95% CI = -1.1 to -0.1 weeks), greater weight gain (β = 3.3 g/d; 95% CI = 0.1 to 6.6 g/d), and better neurobehavioral performance than the UCP (β = 1.2 points; 95% CI = 0.2 to 2.3 points). Furthermore, a higher degree of parental motivation in interventions, goal attainment, and comprehensiveness of home activities was significantly associated with greater effects in infants’ neurobehavioral performance and weight gain (r = .20-.31; all Ps < .05).

Limitations

The findings may not be generalized to preterm infants with severe perinatal diseases and parents with a low level of interest in interventions.

Conclusions

Family-centered care facilitated short-term medical and neurobehavioral outcomes in VLBW preterm infants in Taiwan; the effects were likely achieved through parental adherence to interventions. The designated strategies may be considered in a future launch of family-centered care in Taiwan.

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