UNPACKING THE BURDEN OF CARE FOR INFANTS IN THE NICU

Amy L. D'Agata, Marilyn R. Sanders, Damion J. Grasso, Erin E. Young, Xiaomei Cong, Jacqueline M. Mcgrath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Infants who begin early life in the medicalized environment of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) experience disruption to numerous fundamental expectancies. In the NICU, infants are exposed to chronic, extreme stressors that include painful medical procedures and parental separation. Due to their preverbal stage of development, infants are unable to fully express these experiences, and linking these experiences to long-term outcomes has been difficult. This clinical article proposes the terminology Infant Medical Trauma in the NICU (IMTN) to describe the infant experience. Following a discussion of the NICU as an adverse childhood event, the article has three sections: (a) the unique and critical factors that define the newborn period, (b) a review of the IMTN conceptual model, and (c) recommendations for supportive neuroprotective strategies to moderate the intensity of adverse NICU infant experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-317
Number of pages12
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Volume38
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • burden of care
  • early life trauma
  • health outcomes
  • neonatal intensive care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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