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J Perinatol. 2015 Dec;35 Suppl 1:S14-8. doi: 10.1038/jp.2015.144.

Recommendations for mental health professionals in the NICU.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, USA.
2
Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
3
Department of Social Work, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA.
4
Department of Neonatology, West Penn Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
5
Department of Psychology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
6
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
7
Department of Pediatrics, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS, USA.
8
Cheryl Milford Consulting, Huntington Beach, CA, USA.
9
Wisconsin Association for Perinatal Care/Perinatal Foundation, Madison, WI, USA.
10
Division of Neonatology, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
11
Department of Pediatrics and Neonatology, Health and Science University, Portland, OR, USA.
12
College of Nursing, and Department of Psychological and Brain Science, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA.
13
Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Abstract

This article describes recommended activities of social workers, psychologists and psychiatric staff within the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). NICU mental health professionals (NMHPs) should interact with all NICU parents in providing emotional support, screening, education, psychotherapy and teleservices for families. NMHPs should also offer educational and emotional support for the NICU health-care staff. NMHPs should function at all levels of layered care delivered to NICU parents. Methods of screening for emotional distress are described, as well as evidence for the benefits of peer-to-peer support and psychotherapy delivered in the NICU. In the ideal NICU, care for the emotional and educational needs of NICU parents are outcomes equal in importance to the health and development of their babies. Whenever possible, NMHPs should be involved with parents from the antepartum period through after discharge.

PMID:
26597800
PMCID:
PMC4660044
DOI:
10.1038/jp.2015.144
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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