Introduction: Alberta has one of the highest rates of preterm birth among Canadian provinces. The economic impact of preterm birth on the public sector is well-known, however there is limited evidence about the economic impact of preterm birth on families. This project explores differences in indirect costs between families receiving Alberta Family Integrated Care (FICare) and standard care in Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs).
Methods: This is a sub-study of the Alberta FICare©™ cluster randomized controlled trial (cRCT) conducted in 10 level II NICUs across Alberta. Alberta FICare©™ is a theoretically-driven model of care with detailed strategies and practical tools to integrate parents in caring for their infant beginning at admission to NICU. Self-reported data from 403 parent journals (n=250 Alberta FICare©™; n=153 standard care) were analyzed. Time spent in NICU was analyzed with an independent samples t-test and indirect costs associated with NICU stay were analyzed using a Mann Whitney U test.
Results: Time spent in the NICU per day was significantly different between Alberta FICare©™ (M= 9.00, SD= 5.38), and standard care (M= 7.79, SD= 4.87) groups, t(379)= 2.221, p= 0.027. Parking costs incurred by NICU families was significantly greater for standard care than Alberta FICare©™ families (U=8809.00, p<0.001). Mann Whitney U results for indirect cost categories analyzed are presented in Table 1.
Conclusion: Significant difference was observed between Alberta FICare©™ and standard care groups in time spent in NICU and parking costs. Valuable insights gained through the analysis of indirect costs to families and understanding the financial impact that may be associated with having an infant in the NICU has the potential to inform interventions, generate new programs, or improve pre-existing programs to enhance the support for parents of preterm infants.