Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Communication Sciences & Disorders (MSCSD)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Health Sciences


Communication Sciences & Disorders

First Advisor

Dr. Gilson Capilouto


Many NICUs around the country are moving away from traditional open-bay designs in favor of single-family rooms (SFRs) as more is understood about the impact of the sensory environment on neurodevelopment in preterm infants. SFRs house one infant and their family for the length of the infant’s stay and are associated with improvements in numerous outcomes, including increased milk intake and weight gain and earlier transition to enteral feeding. Oral feeding remains a critical requirement for NICU discharge; however, the impact of NICU design on feeding outcomes remains unknown.

The purpose of this study was to compare feeding outcomes between infants cared for in an open-bay NICU and infants cared for in SFRs, via retrospective chart review. The primary outcome variable of interest was feeding-related length of stay (FRLOS). A secondary outcome measure was gestational age at first oral feeding.

The key findings from this study were no significant differences in either outcome measure between groups, suggesting that for relatively healthy preterm infants, NICU design has no significant impact on feeding-related length-of-stay or age at first oral feed. Infants progressed to full oral feeding at roughly the same rate whether cared for in an SFR or an open bay nursery.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)