Presentation Information

Jacqueline McGrath

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

  • Speaker: Jacqueline McGrath , PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN
  • Presentation Type:
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 Nursing CEU, 1 CME

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.