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Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program Training and Education

Lawhon, gretchen PhD, RN; Hedlund, Rodd E. MEd

The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing: April-June 2008 - Volume 22 - Issue 2 - p 133–144
doi: 10.1097/01.JPN.0000319100.90167.9f

The Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP) was developed from a multidisciplinary study of the preterm infant's behavior, and serves as a guide for the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) professional to provide individualized developmental care. Implementation of the NIDCAP approach has reduced the iatrogenic complications of prematurity and enhanced the infant's neurobehavioral competence. This theory- and evidence-based approach involves formal training and education and requires a multidisciplinary commitment to change within the context of the hospital system. Site assessment and self-assessment of individual trainees initiate the process for a thorough and reflective change in clinical practice within the NICU. The training consists of work sessions with the NIDCAP trainer, interspersed with guided independent neurobehavioral observations. The clinical report interprets the meaning of the infant's observed behavior within the context of the NICU environment, the infant's medical status, and the family concerns in order to best articulate the infant's goals, from which individualized suggestions for care are developed. NIDCAP is a system-wide intervention approach that strives to enhance relationships between infants and families and the professionals who care for them.

Mid-Atlantic NIDCAP Center, NIDCAP Federation International, Inc. (Dr Lawhon and Mr Hedlund), Department of Pediatrics, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, and The Children's Regional Hospital at Cooper University Hospital, Camden, New Jersey (Dr Lawhon); and Washington Research Institute, Seattle (Mr Hedlund).

Corresponding Author: gretchen Lawhon, PhD, RN, The Children's Regional Hospital, Cooper University Hospital, One Cooper Plaza, Dorrance Suite 755, Camden, NJ 08103, (

The authors have no conflict of interest.

Submitted for publication:

Accepted for publicationL

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.