In preparing infants for discharge, the NICU team should identify the status of infants who are at-risk for neurodevelopmental problems to initiate comprehensive follow-up and early interventions to optimize quality of life for survivors and their families. Systematic evaluations of NICU infants outcomes are indispensable for clinicians as they can help inform decision-making and identify risks for medical, behavioral and developmental problems. This can provide clinicians with information to help guide families to comprehensive follow-up and early intervention. It can also alert society to the estimate for needed resources to improve quality of life for high risk infant survivors and their families. Empowering nurses to play a key role in discharge planning will open doors to optimize survival and outcomes of vulnerable infants.
NAINR. 2012;12(4):221-226. © 2012 Elsevier Science, Inc.