Alberta Family Integrated Care (FICare™) 18-month Follow-up Study

Child developmental health, maternal psychosocial distress, and health system costs at 18-months corrected age: Effectiveness of a cluster randomized controlled trial of Family Integrated Care in Level II NICUs

In Alberta, one in every 12 babies is born preterm (more than 3 weeks early). Parents must leave their preterm babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to fully develop enough to care for them at home. When it is time for babies to go home, parents are often unprepared to look after their baby because they may have limited involvement in the care of their baby in hospital.

The purpose of Alberta FICare™ is to examine a new way to integrate and involve parents into the care of their baby in the NICU from the time they are admitted to the hospital until they go home. In Alberta FICare™, health-care providers act as educators and supporters of parents, empowering parents to build their knowledge, skill, and confidence to ensure they’re well-prepared to care for their preterm baby in the NICU and at home.

The goal of the Alberta FICare™ 18-month follow-up study is to evaluate the longer-term effects and costs for families that participated in the Alberta FICare™ study in level II NICUs. Moms and their babies who participated in the original Alberta FICare™ study in Level II NICUs were asked to participate in the Alberta FICare™ 18-month follow-up study once their baby turned 18 months old. Mothers in this study complete one online survey with information on baby’s development, sleep and feeding, parenting confidence, and maternal social and emotional well-being.


Study Status: Recruitment completed March 31, 2020. Data cleaning and analysis in progress. 

FICare Logo

Principal Investigator: Karen Benzies RN, PhD


Elizabeth Asztalos MD, MSc, FRCPC 


Matthew Hicks MD, PhD, FRCPC 

Wanrudee Isaranuwatchai PhD 

Kelly Mrklas PhD(c) 

Abhay Lodha MBBS, MD, DM, MSc 

Vibhuti Shah MD, DCH, MBBS, MRCP, FRCPC 



Jill Larocque NNP

Jeanne Scotland NNP

Analysis in progress. Results will be shared soon. 

Analysis in progress. Results will be shared soon. 

Sponsors and Partners

The Benzies Lab would like to acknowledge funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and support from our valued partners;

  • University of Calgary
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Alberta 
  • Alberta Health Services (AHS) Maternal Newborn Child & Youth (MNCY) Strategic Clinical Network (SCN)
  • Covenant Health
  • Alberta Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (SPOR)
  • Alberta Public Laboratories