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Keywords:

  • developmental care;
  • prematurity;
  • neonatal care;
  • COPE

Abstract

Developmental care for premature infants was introduced by Dr. Heidi Als more than 20 years ago, and has become an accepted standard of care. Research into developmental care has shown some benefits in neonatal outcomes, but there is no standard definition of developmental care, and its practice can vary widely across different neonatal units. Dr. Bernadette Melnyk developed a program entitled “Creating Opportunities for Parent Empowerment” (COPE) to help parents of premature infants learn about the common appearance and behaviors of these infants, and about developmentally appropriate parenting skills. COPE has helped to reduce parental anxiety and stress and to improve outcomes for premature infants.