Improving Parent's Involvement in the NICU: mFICare has Launched!

The importance of a parent’s involvement in their premature infant’s care while in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit cannot be overstated. Parental participation has clearly been shown to improve health outcomes for premature babies in the NICU. However, the days, weeks or even months a parent spends in the NICU can be some of the most uncertain and stressful times in their life. For example, a parent may encounter dozens of different healthcare providers, adding to difficulties in communication and involvement in their baby’s care.

We are proud to announce that UCSF is leading the nation in trialing an evidence-based program called Mobile-enhanced Family Integrated Care (mFICare), that redesigns NICU care to fully integrate parents as key partners in their child’s care. The program is based on the Canadian model, Family Integrated Care (FICare), which provides training and opportunities for meaningful parental involvement, including daily parent classes, parent participation on medical rounds and peer-to-peer support with specially trained parent mentors. Studies have show that babies in NICUs with FICare have demonstrated better growth, were breastfed more frequently when they went home, and their parents reported lower stress levels. Nurses and other care providers in FICare NICUs have also favored the model of care over others.

Parents in an mFICare class

parents in an mFICare class

Parents in an mFICare class in the NICU learning how to use music to support their child's development.

To meet the needs of US parents, we are thrilled to have partnered with clinicians and parents to adapt the FICare model with innovative alterations, most notably the We3healthTM app. The We3health app allows parents to receive FICare education, support and stay connected with their babies and the NICU team even when not in the NICU. It also makes it easier for parents to participate in the program’s evaluation by completing online surveys. Six NICUs in California, including the Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland, Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, UCLA Santa Monica, UCSD, and Kaiser Santa Clara are participating in the first research study on mFICare. We hope to show that mFICare is accessable to a larger range of parents and shows similar positive outcomes as the original FICare program. We are looking forward to share results in 2020. If you’d like to learn more about mFICare, please contact: [email protected].

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Parenting in the ICN with MFI Care

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