Author(s): Moore KA
OBJECTIVE: Multidisciplinary teams from 11 medical center neonatal intensive care units collaborated in a quality improvement project with a focus on family-centered care. METHODS: Through a process of self-analysis, literature review, benchmarking site visits, and expert consultation, 10 potentially better practice (PBP) areas were defined. Improvement activities in 4 of the 10 areas are given as examples of successes and challenges that individual centers encountered. The 4 areas are vision and philosophy, unit culture, family participation in care, and families as advisors. RESULTS: Centers were at different places for all of the PBPs at the beginning and throughout the collaboration. Seven centers developed or revised their vision or philosophy of care statements about family-centered care. Incorporating the vision and philosophy of care into performance appraisals, hiring of new personnel, and changing unit culture to a more family-centered practice were more challenging than developing the statements. Full parent participation in care requires unrestricted access to the neonatal intensive care unit. The shift from considering parents to be "visitors" to being partners in caring for their child was more difficult for centers with restricted visitation policies. All centers developed, expanded, or started plans for establishing family advisory councils. The experience of 2 centers is described. CONCLUSIONS: Family-centered care is more of a journey than a destination. Collaborating centers in this project found themselves at different places in that journey. Through perseverance in implementing the PBPs, all have moved further along the path.