1. Section Editor(s): STOKOWSKI, LAURA A. RN, MS

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Are families considered visitors in your NICU, or are they welcomed as partners in their baby's care? Many who work in NICUs believe their unit offers "family-centered care," but the policies and routines of those units do not consistently involve families in care to the extent that would truly benefit the infant and family.


A new Web-based tool, the Family-Centered Care Map, may be the ideal way to redefine the role of families in the NICU. A joint effort of 3 NICUs (Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Ontario; Vermont Children's Hospital at Fletcher Allen Healthcare in Burlington, Vt; and Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood, Fla) and the Institute for Family-Centered Care, the Family-Centered Care Map was crafted as part of the Vermont Oxford Network's Neonatal Intensive Care Quality Improvement Collaborative 2002.


The Care Map is a dynamic tool that is centered around the 7 clinical phases that many infants experience during their stay in the NICU, from preadmission to postdischarge.1 It is evidence based, incorporating 63 potentially better practices (PBP) for family-centered care in the NICU.1 Users click on a desired clinical phase and then select from the list of PBPs that appears. Experienced NICU families guided the team in developing PBPs for each phase of the map. Related case studies are also available for illustration. Implementing family-centered care principles using the Family-Centered Care Map resulted in a decreased length of stay among low birth-weight infants, from 73 to 60 days, in one children's hospital NICU.2 The Care Map is available for neonatal caregivers to use at Users are also invited to submit case studies via this Website that illustrate how to implement specific PBPs from the Care Map.




1. Dunn MS, Reilly MC, Johnston AM, Hoopes RD, Abraham MR. Development and dissemination of potentially better practices for the provision of family-centered care in neonatology: the family-centered care map. Pediatrics. 2006;118:S95-S107. [Context Link]


2. Johnston AM, Bullock CE, Graham JE, et al. Implementation and case-study results of potentially better practices for family-centered care: the family-centered care map. Pediatrics. 2006;118:S108-S114. [Context Link]