Parental concerns about their premature infants' health after discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit: A questionnaire survey for anticipated guidance in a neonatal follow-up clinic

Department of Pediatrics, The Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Korean Journal of Pediatrics 08/2012; 55(8):272-9. DOI: 10.3345/kjp.2012.55.8.272
Source: PubMed


The aim of this study was to develop an appropriate nursing information guideline according to corrected age, after investigating parents' concerns about the growth, development, and diseases of their premature infants after discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
The parents of premature infants (birth weight, <2,500 g; gestational age, <37 weeks) who went to a neonatal follow-up clinic after NICU discharge at Seoul St. Mary's Hospital from January 2005 to December 2009, were asked with regard to their concerns about their infants through a questionnaire survey. The results of physical examinations, including body measurements and neurodevelopmental status at 4, 8, 12, and 18 months of corrected age, were retrospectively reviewed in 390 infants.
The most common parental concerns were developmental delay, poor growth, and feeding and nutritional problems. Parental concerns about developmental delay, growth failure in improvement in body weight and length, and overweightness were high in specificity but very low in sensitivity. After NICU discharge, 30% of premature infants experienced infectious diseases before 18 months of corrected age, the most common of which was respiratory tract infection.
For guiding of premature infants in outpatient day clinics after NICU discharge, it is necessary to identify the parents' highest concerns, to educate them about the possibilities of growth and neurodevelopmental disabilities in their infants and to provide them with handouts containing guidelines on the management of infectious diseases, especially respiratory infections.

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    ABSTRACT: Objective: A mandate exists that all level III neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) provide a means to assess and follow their high-risk neonates after discharge. However, no standardized guidelines exist for the follow-up services provided. To determine trends of structure and care provided in NICU follow-up clinics in both the academic and private clinical setting. Study design: We sent an Internet survey to NICU follow-up clinic directors at both academically affiliated and private centers. This study received institutional review board exemption. Result: We received 89 surveys from academic institutions and 94 from private level III follow-up programs. These responses represent 55% of academic programs and 40% of private programs in the United States. Similar to academic institutions, 18% of private NICU follow-up clinics provide primary care services to patients. In both settings, the hospital supports 60% of the funding required for clinic activities. Forty-five percent of NICU graduates seen in both private and academic follow-up clinics have public aid as their primary insurance. Eighty-five percent of NICUs in both settings have guidelines outlining requirements for referrals to the follow-up clinic. Academic programs find feeding difficulties the most difficult, whereas private programs find bronchopulmonary dysplasia and feeding difficulties equally as difficult. Conclusion: The care and struggles of NICU follow-up clinics are similar in both the academic affiliated and private settings. Similar referrals, clinical evaluation and medical care occur with varying struggles.
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