Efforts to improve infant mortality and morbidity should focus on preventing low birth weight and improving infant care. Although preventing low birth weight is the ultimate goal, nurses also must improve the care of infants who are born with low birth weights. This article examines postdischarge care for these infants and the nurse's role in providing follow‐up services. Nurses have unique opportunities to influence infant well‐being directly through continued contact with families and through interventions that support infant caregivers. However, continued research is needed to provide nurses with information about how follow‐up for low‐birth‐weight infants can be best provided. Follow‐up services for low‐birth‐weight infants most often consist of medical follow‐up, development testing, screening for deficits, and referral to appropriate medical subspecialties. Other types of follow‐up services focus on improving infant development and parenting, and some services focus on supporting the transition of the infant from the hospital to the home. Few reports exist on well‐coordinated, comprehensive services for follow‐up of low‐birth‐weight infants. Although many differences exist in the extent of nursing involvement in the follow‐up of low‐birth‐weight infants, an examination of follow‐up services demonstrates opportunities for nurses, working in conjunction with other disciplines, to document the contributions that nursing can make in reducing post‐discharge, low‐birth‐weight infant mortality and morbidity and in improving family outcomes in high‐risk groups. Through continued contact with families, from the delivery of a low‐birth‐weight infant through the period of infancy, nurses have unique opportunities to influence infant well‐being directly and through interventions that support infant caregivers. Continued research is needed, however, to provide information about how follow‐up for low‐birth‐weight infants can be best provided.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing|
|State||Published - Jan 1991|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Critical Care
- Maternity and Midwifery