The Coping with and Caring for Infants with Special Needs intervention was associated with improved motor development in preterm infants

Swiss Neonatal Network, Follow-Up Group, Schirin Akhbari Ziegler*, Michael von Rhein, André Meichtry, Markus Wirz, Tjitske Hielkema, Mijna Hadders-Algra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AIM: We compared the impact of standard infant physiotherapy and the family-centred programme, Coping With and Caring for Infants with Special Needs (COPCA), in infants born before 32 weeks without significant brain lesions.

METHODS: This randomised controlled trial was carried out in patients' homes and outpatient settings in Switzerland between January 2016 and October 2019. We used data from the national SwissNeoNet register and an assessment battery that included infant and family outcomes and video analyses of therapy sessions. The Infant Motor Profile was the primary outcome instrument.

RESULTS: The COPCA group comprised six boys and two girls with a median gestational age of 27 weeks (range 25-30) and the standard care group comprised seven boys and one girl with a median gestational age of 29.5 weeks (range 26-31). COPCA participants improved significantly more between baseline and 18 months in the IMP variation (9.0 percentage points, 95% confidence interval 0.3-17.5) and performance (12.0 percentage points, 95% confidence interval 4.1-20.6) domains than standard care participants. COPCA coaching was positively associated with IMP scores at 18 months, but some standard care actions were negatively associated.

CONCLUSION: COPCA was associated with better motor outcome in infants born before 32 weeks than standard infant physiotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalActa Paediatrica
Issue number4
Early online date12-Oct-2020
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2021


  • early physiotherapy
  • family-centred practice
  • family outcomes
  • motor outcome
  • preterm infants

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