QEH Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Parental Involvement

Having a newborn admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) can be an overwhelming experience. At the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, NICU staff use a health care approach called Merge™ to keep parents closer to their babies. 

While your newborn is in the NICU, you are welcomed and included as an active member of their health care team. Staff support and guide you on how to care for your baby and help you develop knowledge, skills and confidence to make the transition home easier. 

During your baby’s stay in the NICU, you will: 

  • learn to change your baby’s diapers, take their temperature, feed them and other tasks 
  • be encouraged to participate in bedside rounds with your baby’s health care team 
  • receive a Parent Journal to document how your baby is doing each day, write your thoughts and feelings, and note any questions or information for the NICU team  


For the newborn, early parental care: 

  • strengthens the bond with their parents
  • supports healthy brain development
  • stabilizes their overall health (breastfeeding, weight gain, reduces the need for breathing and feeding supports)
  • supports a shorter length of stay in hospital

For the parent, being an active part of the newborn’s care team:

  • increases confidence in caring for their baby
  • reduces stress and anxiety
  • reduces other post-partum mood issues

An example of Family-integrated care

Staff at the QEH NICU have been trained in Merge™ to support and empower parents in caring for their baby.  This program is specific to the NICU. 

Merge™ is an example of family-integrated care: a health care model that welcomes families as active participants and partners in patient care. It has become a standard for care delivery in NICUs across Canada. 

Published date: 
June 3, 2024
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