Family Presence in the NICU

Constraints and Opportunities in the COVID-19 Era

Janelle Bainter; Marybeth Fry; Brenda Miller; Teesha Miller; Amy Nyberg; Alexa O'Dell; Ginny Shaffer; Lelis Vernon


Pediatr Nurs. 2020;46(5):256-259. 

In This Article


The COVID-19 pandemic is like nothing we have seen before. As a result, there is confusion about the right policy responses and who should determine them. This pandemic propelled clinicians and families into an unfamiliar space where neither knew precisely the best way to proceed.

NICUs and hospitals have made incredible strides in advancing family-centered care. Building on that, this pandemic is a critical time to make new decisions based on the core concepts of patient- and family-centered care – decisions that maintain safety but are also evidence-based (e.g., the importance of family presence and participation).

As parents, we encourage pediatric nurses to use your voices in advocating for your patients, reminding hospital leadership of the importance of having all team members represented at the policy-making table. We urge hospital leaders to fully include both staff and Family Partners in future conversations related to planning and implementation of policies that preserve family-centered care, support family presence, and ensure the safety of the whole NICU team. We look forward to joining you at the table.