Is Less Noise, Light and Parental/Caregiver Stress in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Better for Neonates?
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In utero sensory stimuli and interaction with the environment strongly influence early phases of fetal and infant development. Extremely premature infants are subjected to noxious procedures and routine monitoring, in addition to exposure to excessive light and noise, which disturb the natural sleep cycle and induce stress. Non-invasive ventilation, measures to prevent sepsis, and human milk feeding improve short-term and long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes in premature infants. To preserve brain function, and to improve quality of life and long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes, the focus now is on the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) environment and its impact on the infant during hospital stay. The objectives of this write-up are to understand the effects of environmental factors, including lighting and noise in the NICU, on sensory development of the infant, the need to decrease parental and caregiver stress, and to review existing literature, local policies and recommendations.
KeywordsDevelopmental disabilities Environment Neonate Noise pollution
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