Developmental Care Standards for Infants in Intensive Care

Mom Baby







Report of the First Consensus Conference on Standards, Competencies and Best Practices for Infant and Family-Centered Developmental Care in the Intensive Care Unit 



In 2015, the Consensus Committee of the Standards, Competencies, and Best Practices for Infant and Family-Centered Developmental Care in the Intensive Care Unit was formed with  a group of interprofessional experts in order to produce a broad set of evidence-based recommendations for developmentally supportive care.  The committee members performed a 

The Introduction provides a detailed background to the work of the committee and how these recommendations are intended to be used.  Systems thinking should be the first area to examine after the Introduction as it provides evidence-based recommendation for change management and a checklist to start your unit’s self-evaluation. The committee believes this approach will ease the adoption of topical evidence-based best practices. Each topic section has its own recommendations and these also complement other sections.careful review of the evidence and rated the evidence (1 through7) according to the Hierarchy of Evidence for Intervention Studies by Melnyk and Fineout-Overholt in Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing and Healthcare.  The evidence ratings were accumulated to provide a ranking of the strength of the recommendation based on the body of evidence, the ranking was adapted from the adapted from the Oxford Centre for Evidence-based Medicine (A through D).  The committee also identified gaps in the literature in each area. This web document is the full report of the committee and an executive summary is in press, in the Journal of Perinatology. The work of the Committee was supported by an educational grant from Pampers Professional. 

Consequently, based on the mounting evidence of the neuroprotective aspects of infant family centered developmental care (IFCDC)and the importance of supporting infant mental health (IMH), it is critical that the baby’s behavioral communication and the nurturing relationship of the parent(s)/family be central to managing and delivering care.  Practices that support the message and interaction of the baby and parents can no longer be viewed as “additional” or “optional”, but should be integrated as an essential part of medical management, and caregiving for babies and their families.

The committee seeks feedback in your experience with these recommendations.  The chief contact person is Carol Jaeger, DNP, RN, NNP-BC at


Developmental Care Standards for Infants in Intensive Care Downloads: 

Developmental Care Standards for Infants in Intensive Care (533k PDF)


Application of IFCDC Recommendations

Intensive Care Units for Newborns

IFCDC Recommendations:

Best Practice for Positioning and Touch                                                                                 

 Best Practices in Systems Thinking

Recommendations for Skin-to-skin Contact Best Practice to Support Sleep and Arousal


Best Practice in Reducing and Managing Pain and Stress

Best Practices for Feeding, Eating and Nutrition

Acknowledgements & Conflict of Interest


IFCDC List of Presentations and Publications