Developmental Follow-up in Georgia
In Georgia there are six Perinatal Centers whose mission is to provide developmental follow-up services for the smallest and sickest of the babies born prematurely in the state. The Emory Regional Perinatal Center provides care for babies who meet certain admission criteria and were cared for in the NICUs of Grady Memorial Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown and Egleston Hospital. In addition we accept referrals that meet our guidelines from physicians and parents.
It is important to follow prematurely born children and children with certain serious complications at birth over time. Children recently discharged from a neonatal intensive care unit need recovery time before any impact on the child's developmental course can be determined. Regardless of complications at birth, some children will not show any serious developmental problems over time. Some children may develop well initially and slowly reveal problem areas as they mature. Other children may have initial problems that will resolve as they get older. Prompt identification and treatment of delays is thought to be the key to successful intervention.
Developmental follow-up services are not designed to replace the primary health care provider. Our goal is to be a resource for parents and primary health care providers. Families may feel overwhelmed by the number of health care appointments they must keep for their child in the first few months after hospital discharge, and often the need for developmental follow-up is not clear to parents. We hope providing information about these visits will increase understanding about the importance of developmental follow-up. The physicians, pediatric nurse practitioners, psychologists, social worker, physical therapist, nutritionist, and others professionals on our follow-up team all have expertise in the follow-up of preterm infants. Our team approach allows us to look at a child’s development from a variety of prospectives. The team can try to answer questions regarding things that happened in the NICU and their relevance for a child’s future. The team can assist parents in understanding information from various specialists to provide a coherent picture of findings. We share our recommendations from each visit with the child’s parents and health care providers.
We provide developmental follow-up at all our clinics and, in addition, we offer primary health care to families who use our Hughes Spalding clinic. Click here for our follow-up schedule.