The 6th symposium of the Separation and Closeness Experiences in the Neonatal Environment (SCENE) group has just been held at the Scientific Institute IRCCS E. Medea, in Bosisio Parini, Lecco (Italy). More than 90 international colleagues arrived for this cutting-edge scientific meeting from all over the world, including clinicians and researchers from Canada, United States, Australia, South-Africa, Israel, Scandinavian countries, England, Estaern Europe and so on. This symposium has been a tremendous opportunity to share the most recent updates from research in the field of developmental care for preterm infants hospitalized in the NICU and to provide relevant information on the status of closeness and protective practices in NICUs from many different Countries. As the meeting was held in Italy this year, a specific focus has been provided for what pertains Mediterranean Countries, including Italy, Spain and Israel. The symposium has been an excellent opportunity for creating new interconnections among researchers and clinicians and to develop new fruitful networks across different Countries.
The SCENE is a multi-disciplinary group of international professionals that aims to improve parents’ and infants’ experiences and outcomes of neonatal care. The focus of the SCENE collaboration is to undertake research into how and why parent-infant physical and emotional closeness varies in neonatal units, within and between countries; the short- and long-term effects of closeness and separation on infants, parents and the infant-parent dyad; as well as how to optimise parental and infant health and wellbeing. A key goal of the SCENE collaboration is to identify, construct, implement and evaluate best practice to support physical and emotional parent-infant closeness during neonatal care.
For what pertains research efforts and future plans, different directions have been proposed and explored together with participants by working in small groups. These directions include: (a) preterm behavioral epigenetics and early affectionate touch in NICU; (b) the microbiome and its relationship with preterm infants' development and health; (c) what is yet to be known about NICU fathers; (d) the role of grandparents in the NICU; (e) parental support groups and the impact of preterm delivery on the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder. Multi-disciplinary and cross-country collaborations in these research fields not only hold the potentials of further advancing our scientific knowledge on these topics; rather, these research plans reveal the global need and desire to sustain and increase the quality of care that is delivered to preterm infants and their families.
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