The evolving practice of developmental care in the neonatal unit: a systematic review. Academic Article Review uri icon


  • Many neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) are experiencing changes in their approaches to preterm infant care as they consider and incorporate the philosophy of individualized developmental care. The aim of this systematic review is to research current literature documenting the short-term effects of developmental care and the Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP). The following databases were reviewed: PubMED, CINAHL, and PsychINFO by using the keywords developmental care, individualized care, preterm infant, early intervention, and NIDCAP. Fifty-four articles were found with a total of 15 matching the selection criteria. All 15 articles were assessed using a research design developed by the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AACPDM). Twelve of the 15 articles contained strong Levels of Evidence (I or II). Our findings suggest evidence supporting developmental care and NIDCAP, however, further research documenting outcomes for preterm infants receiving developmental care and/or NIDCAP is needed.

publication date

  • January 1, 2011