When an infant is admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), the ability of parents to spend time with and provide meaningful care for their infant is often restricted. Added to this is the distress parents may be feeling as a result of the premature birth of their child, as well as the intimidating and technological environment of the NICU. These factors strain the development of an optimal parent-infant relationship, which can have effects that last beyond discharge. A solution to this problem is to offer parents the opportunity to be the primary caregivers for their infant in the NICU. This article reviews the development and theory of the care-by-parent model, including examples of successful programs, discusses the benefits and challenges of the model, and looks to the future of care in the NICU.

You do not currently have access to this content.