Course Description: The NICU environment can have deleterious effects on early brain structure and function. Although preterm infants are susceptible to negative and poorly timed external stimuli, they should be in utero and experiencing multidimensional sensory exposures, which drive early brain development. Instead, high-risk infants in the NICU are exposed to invasive and painful medical interventions and lack positive and consistent forms of sensory exposures, which are critical for optimizing development. Parenting an infant in the NICU is challenging, and many parents do not know how or when to engage with their infants. While the use of sensory exposures, such as skin-to-skin care and massage, have been related to better parent and infant outcomes, most interventions are implemented inconsistently and/or for short periods of time in the NICU. To maximize the benefit of positive sensory exposures in the NICU, we have developed a structured sensory-based guideline titled “Supporting and Enhancing NICU Sensory Experiences (SENSE)”, that includes specific doses and targeted timing (based on PMA) of interventions such as massage, auditory exposure, rocking, holding, and skin-to-skin care. The guideline was developed to optimize parent engagement and bolster mother-infant interaction while providing the infant with positive sensory exposures to improve developmental outcome. A rigorous process of protocol development included: an integrative review that outlined 88 articles on sensory-based interventions that were used with preterm infants to improve outcome, expert input from a multidisciplinary group of 108 health care professionals that defined sensory interventions implemented across different NICUs, 3 multidisciplinary focus groups that provided a critical review of the guideline, and interviews with 20 mothers of preterm infants who gave input on feasibility of implementing the SENSE guideline. In this presentation, we will share the specific sensory-based guideline with defined auditory, tactile, vestibular, kinesthetic, olfactory and multi-modal interventions for preterm infants in the NICU. A synthesis of the results is presented.
Target Audience: OT, SLP, PT, RN, and Neonatal professionals
Instructional Method: Recorded webinar with handouts. Learning assessment and course evaluation follow course.
Course Completion Requirements: The learner must view the entire webinar, complete the course evaluation and complete the post webinar learning assessment with at least 80% to receive education credit. Login and logout times will be recorded and documented.
Following completion of this course physical therapists, nurses and other disciplines will receive a certificate of completion and a zip file containing information necessary to submit to their individual state for education credit. Zip file will include course bibliography. Physical therapists are responsible for knowing and adhering to their state’s deadlines, rules and regulations.