Family Integrated Care (FICare)

Much of the stress of having an infant in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) comes from the loss of control and feeling of separation many parents experience as a team of nurses, doctors, and specialists takes the lead in their newborn’s care.

Family Integrated Care, or FICare, is an approach that makes parents equal members of their child’s neonatal care team.

The Messina Family Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at South Shore Hospital is the first NICU in the state of Massachusetts to implement this model of care.

Our caregivers serve as teachers, helping parents develop the skills they need to safely participate in baby’s care in the NICU and gain confidence in preparation for discharge home.

We understand that some parents feel more comfortable with caregivers taking the lead, or that parents may not be able to be physically present in the NICU with their baby for hours a day. Parents can choose to do as many (or as few) of these tasks as they choose. 

South Shore Hospital caregivers will continue to deliver all traditional care, but parents will have the opportunity to participate in all the activities they are comfortable with. 

Parents are taught how to: 

  • Feed their baby (breast, bottle, and tube feeds)
  • Change diapers
  • Obtain vital signs
  • Bathe their baby
  • Weigh their baby
  • Give oral medications
  • Participate in Kangaroo care
  • Participate in daily medical rounds 
  • Engage in decision-making with providers

Our team of lactation consultants, feeding specialists, occupational therapists, and nutritionists will provide you with additional support and bedside teaching to help you meet your baby’s needs. 

Additionally, South Shore Health hosts a free weekly support group for parents with a baby currently hospitalized in the NICU. Here, you’ll have a chance to talk with parents who’ve had a baby hospitalized in the NICU in the past, and can talk about the challenges, successes, and emotions that you’re experiencing during this stressful time.

The goal of Family Integrated Care is to empower and educate parents so they may be well prepared for discharge home and feel like a welcomed part of our team. 

Research shows that FICare reduces stress and anxiety for parents, and helps babies gain more weight than babies cared for in a conventional care model.

We also find that this approach facilitates better communication between parents and the care team. 

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