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Implications of Early Life Experience and Brain Development in the Preterm Infant

by Jacqueline McGrath, PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 R-CERP, 1 Nursing Contact Hours
  • Handout: No

Parents are essential to infant brain development; high risk birth with admission to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) only increases their vital role. Current evidence increasingly provides direction for how best to fully engage parents through increased opportunities for both physical and emotional closeness enhancing parent-infant interactions and participation in NICU caregiving activities. Early brain development is highly affected by early experiences particularly those with parents. Parent engagement is defined as a dynamic process focused on enhancing and supporting the parent-infant experience; specifically enhancing the acquisition of skills for problem-solving and provision of appropriate infant care based on the unique infant needs. Enhancing parent engagement is one means of decreasing what has been recently documented as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often experienced by parents who must traverse the chaotic NICU environment while supporting their high-risk infant. Concurrently, the unique needs of the infant’s developing brain demands that caregiving by parent and health providers be neuroprotective matching the “expectations” for experiences that “nurture” their development.

Learning Objectives:

Objective 1: Describe the critical periods of developing brain in the preterm infant
Objective 2: List 3 positive early life experiences and the effects on preterm infant brain development
Objective 3: List 3 negative early life experiences and the effects on preterm infant brain development
Objective 4: Describe 3 strategies to decrease stress leading to negative early life experiences for the preterm infant

Categories: Neonatology
Presentations: 10  |  Hours / CE Credits: 10.5  |  Viewing Time: 8 Weeks