Compliance With Best Practice Guidelines for Neurodevelopmental Supportive Care in South Africa: A Situational Analysis

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Neurodevelopmental supportive care provides preterm infants with evidence-based care to ensure the best possible neurological outcomes. The study aimed to determine the compliance of current nursing care practices with best practice guidelines by means of a situational analysis. The situational analysis was done in 2 cycles in the neonatal intensive care units (n = 25) of a private healthcare provider in South Africa. Structured observations were done in cycle 1 using the Implementation of Neurodevelopmental Supportive Care checklist. Cycle 2 comprised focus group discussions to verify findings from cycle 1. Seventeen conclusion statements were formulated, which were thematically combined to be presented as 9 categories: neonatal intensive care unit design, individualized care, family-centered care, infant positioning, handling techniques, environmental manipulation, pain management, knowledge of infant behavior, and feeding. The conclusion statements identified improvement opportunities in current practice and offer suggestions, which can be used to guide an implementation strategy for best practice guidelines of neurodevelopmental supportive care in the neonatal intensive care units of the private healthcare group in future. Addressing improvement opportunities in all the categories will ensure that all aspects of the guideline requirements are met, resulting in a comprehensive strategy improving practice and patient outcomes.

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