Can parent care help improve survival rate of preterm babies? UCalgary nurse researchers share in $6.4-million boost from Canadian Institutes of Health Research to find out Karen Benzies and Shahirose Premji of the Faculty of Nursing benefit from Canadian Institutes of Health's funding announcement on preterm birth research. Photo by Adrian Shellard, for the University of Calgary Two Faculty of Nursing researchers were part of the new funding announcement from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) made on May 12. A total of $6.45 million will advance knowledge around preterm births and improve the health outcomes for premature babies, something both Karen Benzies and Shahirose Premji have been working toward throughout their careers. Normally, babies are born at 40 weeks gestation; preterm babies are born at less than 37 weeks gestation and require care in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). As principal investigator, Benzies will further her exploration of ways to integrate parents into the care of their preterm newborns, decreasing distress and costs to both the parents and to the health system. Benzies is a leading nurse researcher focused on early childhood and parent relationships with particular emphasis on children at risk for development delays. She is also an adjunct research professor with the Department of Paediatrics and a member of the Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute's Health Outcomes group. “In collaboration with AHS’s Maternal Newborn Child and Youth, Strategic Clinical Network, we are evaluating outcomes and costs of a new model of care for babies born between four and eight weeks early,” explains Benzies. Her Family Integrated Care (FICare) program provides concrete strategies to involve parents in care of the baby starting at admission to NICU.
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