Feeding begins at birth, and for many infants who are born preterm or with medical complications, feeding experiences happen within intensive care units. An international consensus committee has published standards and competencies for best practices within intensive care settings. Currently there are six general areas that are covered by these recommended practices. One is for feeding, eating and nutrition delivery. This is a great resource for people working within intensive care settings with infants – whether in neonatal or cardiac units or other specialty units. There are eleven standards within this area, with multiple competencies within each. Rationale for each standard, along with the body of evidence used to create the standard, are freely accessible. There are also checklists available to measure your current practice.
A common question is “but how do I do this?” Feeding is multi-dimensional and making any changes to current practices can be very overwhelming. Recently a “put into practice” conference produced a White Paper that is also available. I am including this resource for you here.
If you ever wanted to compare where you are (personally or within your unit) with what is possible, this is the place for you. Check it out – and keep coming back. It is currently in the process of being updated with new research and the standards are being evaluated. In fact – you have the opportunity to provide feedback for this process as well – all on the website here.