Evidence-Based Practice in the NICU The evidence base for advancing swallowing and feeding behaviors in infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is, like the population, in its infancy. Although studies are limited with regard to design, number of subjects, and comprehensiveness, the existing evidence base is useful for defining the parameters for ... Article
Article  |   June 01, 2002
Evidence-Based Practice in the NICU
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Justine Joan Sheppard
    Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY
  • Joan C. Arvedson
    Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Healthcare Settings / Articles
Article   |   June 01, 2002
Evidence-Based Practice in the NICU
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), June 2002, Vol. 11, 12-15. doi:10.1044/sasd11.2.12
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), June 2002, Vol. 11, 12-15. doi:10.1044/sasd11.2.12
The evidence base for advancing swallowing and feeding behaviors in infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is, like the population, in its infancy. Although studies are limited with regard to design, number of subjects, and comprehensiveness, the existing evidence base is useful for defining the parameters for clinical practice and for suggesting avenues for research.
In considering intervention outcomes, it is useful to keep in mind that the population in the NICU is diverse. In addition to healthy pre-term infants, it includes pre-term and term infants who may have suffered neurological, pulmonary, or other organ system involvement or have identified genetic defects. These conditions may directly or indirectly disrupt the acquisition of feeding and swallowing. Finally, there may be pre-term and term infants who are surgical patients. The healthy premature infant arguably may not have a swallowing disorder, but, nevertheless, may benefit from intervention to accelerate the development leading to nipple feeding (White-Traut et al., 2002). The infants with special needs in addition to, or other than, premature birth may be candidates for intervention. However, interim goals and objectives for swallowing competency may differ, especially for those infants who are medically unstable (Arvedson & Brodsky, 2002, chap. 7).
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