Policy piece

Developmental follow-up of children and young people born preterm

21st February 2017

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published draft guidance on developmental follow-up of children and young people born preterm.

The guideline covers the developmental follow-up of babies, children and young people under 18 years who were born preterm (before 37+0 weeks of pregnancy). It includes recommendations about the risk of developmental problems and disorders, and specifies when and how to assess development.

Risk of developmental problems

Children born preterm are at increased risk of developmental problems and disorders such as:

  • Cerebral palsy.
  • Neonatal sepsis.
  • Intellectual disabilities.
  • Special educational needs.
  • Autism spectrum disorder.
  • Emotional and behavioural problems.
  • Visual and hearing impairment.

Who is the guideline aimed at?

The guideline is aimed at:

  • Healthcare professionals.
  • Education services.
  • Social care services.
  • Commissioners and providers.
  • Parents and carers of babies, children and young people who were born preterm.

What does it recommend?

The guidance recommends that tailored information and support about the risk and prevalence of developmental problems and disorders should be provided to parents or carers of preterm babies. Emotional and psychological support should also be provided as needed, as well as information on opportunities for peer support.

Parents or carers should be helped to gain the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to look after their baby at home and support the baby’s developmental needs, taking into account that they are likely to be anxious about managing their baby’s care after discharge. It also includes information on developmental support, surveillance and assessments.

 How can I find out more?

The draft guidance can be found on the NICE website. The consultation on the draft guidance runs from Monday 20th February 2017 to Monday 3rd April 2017. The final guidance is expected to be published in August 2017. Only organisations registered as NICE stakeholders can comment. More information is available here.

Related articles:

Having a premature baby – what’s it really like?

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