Families should feel supported when child is born preterm: NICE

In its latest draft quality standard, NICE has said that children born preterm should be offered developmental check-ups to help identify any problems or disorders early on.

The draft standard aims to improve the follow-up care that is provided to families when they start planning the discharge of their preterm child from hospital.

When a child is born preterm their risk of short-term and long-term developmental problems and disorders increases the more prematurely they were born. This can include an increased risk of learning difficulties, motor function problems or cerebral palsy.

Quality statements say: Parents or carers of a preterm baby agree a discharge plan with maternity services; Parents or carers of a preterm baby, who should have extra support as they have or are at risk of having developmental problems or disorders, are provided with a single point of contact for outreach care within the neonatal service; Children born preterm, who should have extra support as they have or are at risk of having developmental problems or disorders, have at least two face-to-face visits in the first year and an assessment at two years that focus on development; and Children born before 28+0 weeks’ gestation have a developmental assessment at age four years.

Once published the quality standard should be used alongside the clinical guideline on the developmental follow-up of children and young people born preterm that was published earlier this year.

Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE, said: “Families can feel under-prepared and anxious when their child is born preterm. This draft quality standard outlines the high priority areas that need to be addressed so that families receive the right support.

“Identifying any developmental problems early on is key. This ensures specialist help can be provided before a child starts school that will help them make the most of their opportunities for school-based learning.”

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