An objective quantification of procedural distress in the NICU and tools to track and display infant?s status.
Infants in the new born intensive care unit (NICU) are specifically vulnerable to procedural distress due to the critical stage of neurodevelopment that they are undergoing, and due to the noxious nature of many procedures they experience. This invention provides an objective quantification of procedural distress in the NICU, and it provides a tool to track and display the current state of the infant based on the nature of the clinical procedures experienced.
Currently, there are no objective methodologies to quantify in a clinically meaningful manner the timing, number and nature of procedural distress on an infant in the NICU. Roughly fourteen distressful procedures are performed on infants in the NICU per day; consequently, it is imperative that clinicians better understand the effects of these procedures. The procedural distress infants are exposed to in the NICU has previously been associated with both immediate and long-term poor health outcomes. Thereby, with this invention clinicians have the ability to make useful inferences about the general and current distress level of an infant and evaluate the infant?s readiness to receive any additional procedures. Such a system promises to positively affect the nature of care in the NICU by monitoring the quality, quantity, and timing of procedures so as to minimize negative outcomes.