Enhancement of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Psychosocial Services: Call for Future Directions and to Close Implementation Gaps
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a high-acuity, stressful unit for both parents and staff. Up to 50% of mothers and partners experience emotional distress (i.e., depression, anxiety or posttraumatic stress) during NICU hospitalization and 30%-60% continuing to experience distress after discharge. Similarly, up to 50% of NICU staff report burnout and emotional distress. However, psychosocial care for parents and support for staff are inadequate. Recently, healthcare providers developed interdisciplinary guidelines for psychosocial care to enhance resources for all both parents and staff. Despite the knowledge that psychosocial services are essential for improving resiliency in parents and staff, implementation is lacking. Given the lack of standardized psychosocial care, innovative, feasible and accessible psychosocial interventions are needed more than ever.