NICU Follow-Up Clinic
Children's Hospital & Medical Center offers nearly all babies who graduate from the NICU or have received cardiothoracic surgery in newborn period an opportunity to participate in our neurodevelopmental NICU Follow-Up Clinic. Research shows that babies who receive care in the NICU are at risk for some degree of developmental delay. The NICU Follow-Up Clinic specializes in identifying neurodevelopmental delay problems early on and provides early intervention therapies to reduce long-term developmental issues. The clinic provides a more in-depth developmental assessment than most pediatricians or family physicians normally provide. Your baby's neonatologist will decide what kind of follow-up is recommended based on your baby's medical conditions, complications during the hospital stay and the severity of your child's illness or prematurity. Infants are typically seen at three intervals post-discharge from the NICU: 6-9 months, 16-18 months and 2-3 years of age.
Developmental Tracking Infant Progress Statewide program
As part of your baby's neurodevelopmental follow-up care, we also recommend that you enroll your baby in the state-sponsored Developmental Tracking Infant Progress Statewide (TIPS) program. The Developmental TIPS program is a free statewide program in Nebraska specifically designed to follow all babies who have received care in the NICU.
TIPS is an ongoing clinical project funded by the Nebraska Department of Education, the Nebraska Health and Human Services Division and Children's Hospital & Medical Center. The program performs statewide developmental follow-up of infants from major neonatal intensive care units throughout Nebraska. Infants who were in the neonatal intensive care unit for at least 48 hours, regardless of the child's perceived risk for neurodevelopmental disability, qualify for the TIPS program. The goal of TIPS is to standardize the system of follow-up in the state and to gather neurodevelopmental outcome data to ensure ongoing screening that maximizes early identification of developmental problems.
While your enrollment in the NICU Follow-up Clinic and TIPS is optional, we encourage you to participate in both as this gives you access to experts who specialize in infant development and allows for earlier identification of milder developmental delay problems. These specialists will make recommendations for care based on their findings in the neurodevelopmental screening process. Your pediatrician/family doctor also will be provided on-going information about your baby's developmental needs. The NICU Follow-Up Clinic does not take the place of normal baby care and immunizations that your pediatrician/family doctor provides.
To participate in TIPS, your baby will be categorized into one of three possible levels of development. These levels include:
- Level I: Babies who have had a fairly smooth NICU experience will be followed by your pediatrician or family practitioner. Parents will receive a standardized developmental questionnaire. This questionnaire will be mailed to your home at three key periods of development - when your baby is 6-9 months, 16-18 months and 2-3 years of age. This questionnaire is mailed back to us for evaluation. There are no office visits required. Babies in Level I are not followed in the NICU Follow-up Clinic.
- Level II: Those babies whose hospital course was a bit more complicated qualify for our neurodevelopmental NICU Follow-Up Clinic. The visits are set at three key periods of infant development, 6-9 months, 16-18 months and 2-3 years of age. The visits involve a developmental assessment by a team of specialists. While most graduates are seen in a clinic at Children's Hospital & Medical Center, other developmental clinic locations can be found in Kearney, Lincoln and Scottsbluff, Neb.
- Level III: Your NICU health care team may recommend that your baby be evaluated for early intervention services to help promote his development through the Early Development Network. If your child qualifies for these services, TIPS may contact you to obtain follow-up information or to arrange to have a developmental assessment completed.
If your baby is enrolled in TIPS, the developmental testing results are entered into a confidential database kept at Munroe-Meyer Institute at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. You will be asked to sign a consent giving us permission to send data about your baby to Munroe-Meyer Institute. The consent also gives permission for Munroe Meyer Institute to send findings to your baby's primary doctor. The findings from this process help us guarantee appropriate developmental follow-up for your child and allows the NICU staff to evaluate the care we provide. This information can then be used to help other families know what may be expected in their child's development.