Measuring developmentally appropriate practice in neonatal intensive care units

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Objective: Neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) impose stressors on development. Comparative studies have focused mostly on the units' medical qualities and less on their developmental 'ecology'. The aim of the study was to develop a tool for measuring the various domains of a developmentally appropriate practice in the NICU environment, and to assess its implementation in Israel. Study Design: A questionnaire, designed for NICU senior staff members, was completed by 76 respondents representing 24 NICUs in Israel. The tool that measures developmentally appropriate practice as applied in the NICU environment includes the following three domains: (a) parental and family involvement, (b) environmental control and (c) individualized care and assessment. These measures jointly produce the developmentally appropriate neonatal intensive-care practice (DANIP) index. Result: High variability was found in the application of procedures and programs considered developmentally appropriate. Units with a relatively large multidisciplinary team scored high. Overall, the NICUs in Israel did not consistently follow an integrated form of the developmental care as provided by the Neonatal Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program. It was found that individualized care and assessment was significantly and positively linked to control of the environment (r=0.53, P<0.01) and to parental and family involvement (r=0.76, P<0.01); the latter two scales were not associated. Of the three DANIP domains, parental involvement was salient. Although the staff highly appreciated the importance of environmental control and individualized care, application was limited. Conclusion: The DANIP index provides a good starting point for comparative studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-225
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Perinatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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