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Authors

  1. Lubbe, Welma PhD, RN, RM
  2. Van der Walt, Christa S. J. PhD, MEd, RN, RM
  3. Klopper, Hester C. PhD, MBA, RN, RM

Abstract

Neurodevelopmental supportive care (NDSC) is a well-researched topic and extensive evidence is available on its benefits in terms of the outcome for preterm infants. The programs, strategies, and individual elements of NDSC have been evaluated; however, knowledge and implementation of the developmental care approach is fragmented and the evidence base for elements of NDSC that make up the holistic model is not explicitly documented. The aim of this study was to identify and critically appraise the methodologic quality of relevant research studies and synthesize the current best available evidence of NDSC. A comprehensive investigation of NDSC including studies using research methods other than clinical trials may provide a combination of results from several primary studies, therefore an integrative literature review was utilized as the method of choice. Sixteen research articles were found to be of good methodologic quality and level and strength of evidence after critical appraisal. They described or defined the elements of NDSC explicitly. Extraction of data from these articles contributed to the formulation of 25 conclusion statements. Each of these statements could be grouped under 9 categories that resulted from a process of synthesis, and each of these categories could be substantiated from its literature support, clinical impact, and supporting evidence, including the specific literature references and volume and level of evidence associated with that element of NDSC, providing the evidence base for defining NDSC.