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discharge planning, family-centered care, parent education, parents, support



  1. Griffin, Terry MS, RNC, NNP
  2. Abraham, Marie MA


Increasingly newborn intensive care units (NICUs) are embracing family-centered care principles. Family-centered newborn intensive care requires that families are welcomed as partners in caregiving and decision making. Traditionally, discharge planning has been done without significant family involvement. In fact, parent participation in caregiving may still be limited until discharge is imminent. By increasing parental involvement in caregiving throughout hospitalization and working with families to facilitate the discharge process, parents may emerge from the NICU experience with increased competence and confidence in infant caregiving. This article reviews common discharge practices and processes in the NICU and offers strategies to assist nurses in integrating a family-centered approach into discharge planning.