FICare pilot FAQs

Mum and nurse standing over incubator looking in at premature baby

More information about the pilot and how Family Integrated Care (FICare) fits with the Bliss Baby Charter programme.

What is FICare?

Family Integrated Care (FICare) is a model of neonatal care in which families are enabled to be the primary caregivers of their baby while on the unit. Bliss is using the FICare framework produced by the British Association of Perinatal Medicine as the definition of FICare with some slight additions as the FICare pilot project goes forward.

The three principles of FICare are outlined below:

  • Partnership with families on neonatal units
  • Empowerment on neonatal units
  • Culture on neonatal units

What is the FICare pilot?

Bliss is working together with a range of healthcare professionals and parents to explore the development of an accreditation framework for the delivery of family-integrated care (FICare) in neonatal units in the UK.

In order to co-produce this framework, we are working closely with Luton & Dunstable neonatal unit, to trial the implementation of FICare on their unit. This will help us to understand how FICare can be delivered effectively in practice, testing approaches and learning from them, so we can understand how units can be assessed on their delivery of FICare.

We are also working with range of parents to ensure the framework addresses neonatal parents’ need. Read more information about the pilot.

Why are Bliss developing a FICare framework?

FICare has fantastic benefits for babies’ development and outcomes on the neonatal unit. FICare also reduces separation anxiety for families and increases their bond with their baby.

Bliss is working with a variety of stakeholders to explore the development of a FICare accreditation framework. This framework will help units to deliver FICare to parents and babies and to reduce health inequalities experienced by many families on the neonatal unit.

Currently, there is no national FICare evaluation framework for units to be assessed against, although some networks have established their own frameworks. Bliss is hoping to fill in the gaps and ensure nationwide coverage.

What makes the Bliss FICare framework different from the BAPM FICare framework?

Bliss is producing a practical framework that will enable units to be assessed on their delivery of FICare by an independent evaluator.

Additionally, Bliss is omitting two of the BAPM FICare principles that are already covered in the Baby Charter; these are:

  • Well-being on neonatal units
  • Environment on neonatal units

One of the core aspects of FICare is to reduce health inequalities in neonatal care and to ensure that all families are able to benefit from this care model.

Is FICare replacing family-centred care?

No, family-centred care is still an excellent model of neonatal care that Bliss will be continuing to promote and assess through the Baby Charter.

FICare is an extension of family-centred care that builds the care around the family as much as possible and empowers the parents to become the primary caregiver of their baby while on the unit.

What is the Unit Steering Group?

Luton and Dunstable Hospital have joined the pilot as a trial unit and have assembled a Unit Steering Group (USG) consisting of staff and parents on the unit, with oversight from the network care coordinator.

The USG are trialling several aspects of FICare on their unit to test how the care model can be delivered in the UK. As the project goes on, we will begin to test this unit against the accreditation model that is in development.

What is the Parent Advisory Group?

We are holding six-weekly focus groups with our diverse range of parents on our Parent Advisory Group. The group provides key insight into the needs of families on neonatal units and the best way FICare can be implemented to address these needs.

What is the FICare Development Group?

The FICare Development Group meet regularly to discuss issues and solutions as the project goes forward. The group includes several FICare experts from the UK and overseas, as well as nursing and parent representatives to ensure a well-rounded body of expertise and advice.

How does FICare fit in with the Bliss Baby Charter?

FICare is not possible without family-centred care, which is covered in the Baby Charter. Subsequently, the FICare framework is being designed to work in conjunction with the Bliss Baby Charter.

The goal of the project is to provide a framework that addresses the distinction and interrelationships between family-centred care and FICare, allowing units to improve their practice by working towards accreditation in either model.

We do not know yet exactly what this will look like. As the pilot goes on, we will have more information to share about how the framework will look and how it will interact with the Baby Charter.

Will the FICare framework duplicate the work I have already done on the Baby Charter?

No, we are designing the FICare framework so that it is not duplicative of the Baby Charter. The FICare framework will not include standards already covered by the Baby Charter and will have an alternative assessment format.

How much will the FICare framework cost for units?

The cost for individual units to complete the FICare framework is something that will be explored through the pilot. We will endeavour to ensure it is both affordable for units and Bliss.

Will units have to achieve Baby Charter accreditation before using the FICare framework?

This is something that will be explored in the pilot.

The FICare accreditation framework will be designed so that it does not duplicate the Baby Charter, and so that units can work towards FICare principles while they complete the Baby Charter.