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Improved nurse–parent communication in neonatal intensive care unit: evaluation and adjustment of an implementation strategy


  • Janne Weis MScN, CCRN,

    PhD Student and Clinical Nursing Researcher, Corresponding author
    1. Department of Neonatology, Copenhagen University Hospital Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
    • Correspondence: Janne Weis, Clinical Nursing Researcher, Department of Neonatology, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej 9, Copenhagen DK2100, Denmark. Telephone: +45 35458614.


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  • Vibeke Zoffmann PhD, RN, MPH,

    Senior Researcher
    1. Steno Diabetes Centre A/S, Gentofte, Denmark
    2. NKLMS Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
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  • Ingrid Egerod PhD, RN, MSN

    1. Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
    2. Trauma Centre, Copenhagen University Hospital Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
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Aims and objectives

To evaluate and adjust systematic implementation of guided family-centred care in a neonatal intensive care unit.


Family-centred care is valued in neonatal intensive care units internationally, but innovative strategies are needed to realise the principles. Guided family-centred care was developed to facilitate person-centred communication by bridging the gap between theory and practice in family-centred care. Main mechanisms of guided family-centred care are structured dialogue, reflection and person-centred communication.


Qualitative and quantitative data were used to monitor participatory implementation of a systematic approach to training and certification of nurses delivering guided family-centred care.


Systematic implementation of guided family-centred care included workshops, supervised delivery and certification. Evaluation and adjustment of nurse adherence to guided family-centred care was conducted by monitoring (1) knowledge, (2) delivery, (3) practice uptake and (4) certification.


Implementation was improved by the development of a strategic framework and by adjusting the framework according to the real-life context of a busy neonatal care unit. Promoting practice uptake was initially underestimated, but nurse guided family-centred care training was improved by increasing the visibility of the study in the unit, demonstrating intervention progress to the nurses and assuring a sense of ownership among nurse leaders and nonguided-family-centred-care-trained nurses.


An adjusted framework for guided family-centred care implementation was successful in overcoming barriers and promoting facilitators.

Relevance to clinical practice

Insights gained from our pioneering work might help nurses in a similar context to reach their goals of improving family-centred care.