Single-Family room care and neurobehavioral and medical outcomes in preterm infants

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OBJECTIVE: To determine whether a single-family room (SFR) NICU, including factors associated with the change to a SFR NICU, is associated with improved medical and neurobehavioral outcomes. METHODS: Longitudinal, prospective, quasi-experimental cohort study conducted between 2008 and 2012 comparing medical and neurobehavioral outcomes at discharge in infants born ,1500 g. Participants included 151 infants in an open-bay NICU and 252 infants after transition to a SFR NICU. Structural equation modeling was used to determine the role of mediators of relations between type of NICU and medical and neurobehavioral outcomes. RESULTS: Statistically significant results (all Ps #.05) showed that infants in the SFR NICU weighed more at discharge, had a greater rate of weight gain, required fewer medical procedures, had a lower gestational age at full enteral feed and less sepsis, showed better attention, less physiologic stress, less hypertonicity, less lethargy, and less pain. NICU differences in weight at discharge, and rate of weight gain were mediated by increased developmental support; differences in number of medical procedures were mediated by increased maternal involvement. NICU differences in attention were mediated by increased developmental support. Differences in stress and pain were mediated by maternal involvement. Nurses reported a more positive work environment and attitudes in the SFR NICU. CONCLUSIONS: The SFR is associated with improved neurobehavioral and medical outcomes. These improvements are related to increased developmental support and maternal involvement.

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