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Backing for pre-term family room care

Tuesday January 8th, 2019

Providing care for pre-term babies in single family rooms improves some outcomes – but there is no evidence yet they improve neurodevelopment, researchers report today.

The rooms, provided instead of open wards, are linked to reduced rates of sepsis and improved rates of breastfeeding, according to a systematic review published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.

The researchers analysed some 25 pieces of research involving nearly 5,000 babies over 15 years. However only three studies examined neurodevelopment in a total of 680 infants.

The studies showed a 37% reduced risk of sepsis among babies cared for in single family rooms – and a 31% increased likelihood of mothers giving their babies exclusive breast-feeding.

Researcher Dr Sophie van der Schoor from the OLVG, the city hospital of Amsterdam, Netherlands, said: “Our findings support future development of single family rooms in neonatal units to reduce sepsis and improve breastfeeding rates during hospital stay.

“But to establish whether single rooms have an impact on long-term neurodevelopment we also need well-designed studies to examine the vast majority of preterm infants who are born after 32 weeks gestation, in whom no follow-up studies have been done.”

Writing in the journal, Dr Jayanta Banerjee from Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital, London, UK, warns: “Single family rooms also have some inherent disadvantages. The parents might feel more isolated from other parents and health-care professionals when caring for their infants in single family rooms, which might have deleterious effects on their stress and anxiety. The staffing in a neonatal unit would require rearrangement to cater for single family room care.”

Hospitalising preterm infants in single family rooms versus open bay units: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Child & Adolescent Health 8 January 2019

Tags: Child Health | Childbirth and Pregnancy | Europe | NHS | UK New

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