Introduction: There is evidence to support the use of positive sensory exposures (music, touch, skin-to-skin) with preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), but strategies to improve their consistent use are lacking. The Supporting and Enhancing NICU Sensory Experiences (SENSE) program was developed to promote consistent, age-appropriate, responsive, and evidence-based positive sensory exposures for the preterm infant every day of NICU hospitalization. Methods: A systematic and rigorous process of development of the SENSE program included an integrative review of evidence on sensory exposures in the NICU, stakeholder feedback, expert opinion, and focus groups. Results: SENSE implementation materials consist of parent education materials, tailored doses of sensory exposures for each postmenstrual age, an infant assessment of tolerance, bedside logs and implementation considerations for integrating the SENSE program into the NICU. Discussion: Research is needed to evaluate the SENSE program as an implementation strategy and to assess its impact on parent and infant outcomes.
- Child development