Metas de Enfermería

Metas de Enfermería

JULIO 2011 N° 6 Volumen 14

Neonatology: ethical analysis from the perspective of developmental-centred care

Section: Ethics and Society

How to quote

Velo Higueras M. Neonatología: análisis ético desde la perspectiva de los cuidados centrados en el desarrollo. Metas de Enferm jul/ago 2011; 14(6): 18-21


María Velo Higueras


Enfermera del Hospital Universitario “La Paz” (Madrid).

Contact address

C/ Fuente del Tiro, 23. 28024 Madrid.

Contact email: maria.velo.hig@gmail.com


Neonatology is a relatively young discipline that has developed in parallel with the advancement of technology. Now it is possible to resuscitate infants who just 30 years ago died inevitably with us not being able to do anything for them.
However, these new possibilities led healthcare professionals, nurses and physicians to ask themselves the question: what happens after? Many times, extremely premature infants that survive do so free of major sequelae; nonetheless, alterations in normal development, cerebral palsy, blindness and deafness are alterations that may also develop. Approximately half of survivors have one o more minor neurodevelopment disability during school age or in adolescence. In the great majority of cases, such sequelae are not caused directly by prematurity but are rather related to the long hospitalisation period at the Neonatal Intensive Care Units. In order to avoid them, a new field referred to as Developmental-Centred Care has been emerging (DCC).
Objective: to carry out an ethic reflexion on the quality of care that is given to extremely premature children.
Methodology: a bibliographic review was carried out after direct observation of the professional practice conducted at the Neonatology Unit of the “La Paz” University Hospital in
January 2010. Hence, the differences and consequences between the published recommendations and the actual healthcare delivered daily at the said unit were analysed from an ethical point of view.
Results and conclusions: the different aspects analysed based on Development-Centred Care were: environmental modifications, postural care, and concentration of activities, participation of the parents and family, pain management, to promote breast feeding and to use the “kangaroo method”. Some aspects that are also reported in the literature that should be the subject of some ethical thought shared by all the professionals working at those Neonatology units were also included­. DCC methods are established as care methodology that improves the healthcare quality of care given to neonates but they are only the initial step for an optimal development of these infants.


Development-Centred Care; Ethical analysis; neonatesneonatology

Versión en Español


Neonatología: análisis ético desde la perspectiva de los cuidados centrados en el desarrollo