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Premature babies, now there’s the task force

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Premature babies, now there’s the task force

They are born first. Some so long before in some countries with poor medical care they can’t even make it. How they couldn’t do it in the days of our grandmothers. Yet today, thanks to medical technology, children born before the 37th week of gestation – over 30 thousand in Italy and around 15 million in the world – have excellent chances of survival and good health.

Precisely to ensure the maximum chance of survival and quality of life for premature babies, the Italian Society of Neonatology (SIN) has set up a dedicated Task Force, referring to the dissemination and application of the European Standards of Care, a collection of recommendations on the best ways assistance for newborns and their families, evaluated in the light of the most advanced scientific evidence.

360-degree health

In the Standards, the health of the newborn is addressed at 360 degrees, embracing the new model of care aimed not only at treating diseases, but at guaranteeing the well-being, health and development of the child in a global sense, in collaboration with the family, combining technology the care of the relationship.

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The Standards project was born from European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI), thanks to the cooperation between families and professionals from all over Europe, including neonatologists, nurses, physiotherapists, psychologists and Italian family associations. Italy immediately welcomed the Standards with enthusiasm, translating them within a few months, thanks to the synergy between the Italian Society of Neonatology and Vivere Onlus, the national coordination of associations for neonatology.

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With Germany and Portugal

The newly established Task Force aims to sensitize professionals and families on the existence of this powerful cultural and organizational tool, also proposing to facilitate its application in any reality that assists families with preterm babies. The Task Force brings together professionals belonging to different disciplines and representatives of parents’ associations and collaboration at European level has already started, especially with representatives from Germany and Portugal.

A hospital friend of the premature baby

One of the ambitious objectives of the Task Force is to co-construct criteria to define a hospital friend of the premature newborn and his family, in which the “zero separation” between newborns and parents is put in place, the H24 opening of Intensive Care Neonatal (NICU), care based on the most advanced scientific evidence, partnership with parents in care, promotion of skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding, multidisciplinary approach to the newborn and, as far as possible, structuring a ward environment that minimizes stress for infants, families and staff.

The other objective is to continue to promote knowledge of the Standards at an institutional and professional level, as well as to promote their inclusion in the academic and post-academic training of all professionals who revolve around the newborn.

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Effects on the brain

The delicate and rapid development of the newborn’s brain is related to the experience provided by the mother’s womb up to 40 weeks. The premature abandonment of the maternal uterus causes an abrupt interruption of this “nutritional” experience for the brain and it is for this reason that it becomes essential not only to support the functions of still immature organs, but also to recreate a sensory environment favorable to brain development. Doing this, adhering to the European Welfare Standards for Newborn Health, means prevention, reducing the probability of cognitive disorders, motor and sensory disorders, school difficulties, incidence of autism, anxiety, depression and social difficulties which, even today, despite improved survival burden more on preterm babies. Care in collaboration with the family, a principle that permeates all the recommendations contained in the Standards, also reduces post-traumatic stress disorder in parents and parent-child attachment disorders, further contributing to improving the future health of children.

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