White RD. The newborn intensive care unit environment of care: how we got here, where we’re headed, and why. Semin Perinatol. 2011 Feb;35(1):2-7. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2010.10.002. PubMed PMID: 21255701.
The newborn intensive care unit (NICU) is a life-defining place for many infants, families, and caregivers. The place in which such events occur is often remembered for its sights, sounds, and smells, but the physical environment of the NICU is far more than a memory tag; it can directly influence the quality of the experience for all of its inhabitants. A growing body of evidence demonstrates the profound impact of the physical environment on growth and development of the neonatal brain. The value of skin-to-skin care is now established. Psychology, sociology, and occupational health provide additional insight into the effect of the NICU setting on families and caregivers. Together, these lines of evidence point to the need for individualized environments. Single-family rooms are a growing trend in the NICU because they allow for individualized environments. Careful planning can avoid pitfalls and bring benefit to babies, families, and caregivers alike.
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