NICU Follow-Up Clinic
We know that babies born early are prone to developmental delays and have higher risk factors depending on how early and what happened at birth. Premature babies require extra care in their first year to ensure they develop normally. This is a collaboration between the primary care physician and neurodevelopmental specialists.
At Children’s Village NICU Follow-Up clinic, babies are seen starting at 4-months adjusted age to track developmental milestones and help families get any resources they might need. Adjusted age is a term for tracking a babies’ development from when they should have been born.
If babies are developing normally, they are seen once more at 12-months adjusted age for a final assessment. If concerns or delays are detected at the initial assessment, babies are seen monthly to implement a treatment plan. For some babies all that’s needed from the Follow-Up clinic is a few simple exercises to do at home and for others its physical therapy or a referral to a specialist.
Jennie Olson, Children’s Village nurse practitioner, established the program to provide families with a resource that specializes specifically on the developmental milestones of their baby.
“I didn’t want to duplicate any services that these families already receive with their primary care provider,” Olson said. “I am looking through a lense of prematurity when I’m working with these babies, and my assessment is purely developmental.”
When parents meet with Jennie they get an entire hour to ask questions, talk through worries and celebrate as their children grow and thrive.
“It’s by far the most inspirational day of the month,” Olson said.
The NICU Follow-Up clinic is funded through Washington State under neurodevelopment screening. The State will convene for a special session in November to decide if they can continue to fund neurodevelopment and other vital programs for children with special needs. If funding goes away, so does the NICU Follow-Up Clinic starting January 1, 2012.
To learn more about this program and funding at risk join us for an informational meeting at Children’s Village on October 27th from 12pm-2pm.