Perspectives and attitudes of pediatricians concerning post-discharge care practice of premature infants

A. Gad*, E.Parkinson, N. Khawar, A. Elmeki, P. Narula, D. Hoang | JNPM 2017;

Survival rates of premature infants are at a historical high and increasingly more pediatricians are caring for former premature infants. The goal of this study was to describe the perspectives and attitudes of pediatricians, as well as, the challenges of rendering post-neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) discharge care for premature infants.
METHODS: An anonymous 22-question web-based survey was emailed to pediatricians who are current members of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and practicing in Kings County, New York.
RESULTS: There were 148 completed surveys with 79% being general pediatricians. Of all respondents, 63% believed that premature infants should have a neonatal high risk follow-up visit within days after discharge and 64% were satisfied with the NICU discharge summary acquisition. While 74% of pediatricians felt comfortable following up with former extremely premature infants, 65% referred to specialists, most often to child development, neurology, and physical and/or occupational therapy. The majority (85%) were more likely to refer premature infants to early intervention. Participating pediatricians varied in their knowledge of immunization and breastfeeding guidelines. Finally, 88% of respondents acknowledged that caregivers of premature infants experience increased stress, with 53% stating that the stress should be addressed. CONCLUSIONS: Understanding the perceptions and challenges of pediatricians who care for premature infants may help improve post NICU quality of care. Transition to the outpatient setting is a crucial step in the management of premature infants and a focus on improved hand-off procedures between hospital and physicians may prove beneficial. Also, pediatricians must stay abreast of current recommendations for breastfeeding and vaccinations. Furthermore, emphasis should be given to stress reduction and management for caregivers of former premature infants.

*Corresponding Author: 

Ashraf Gad, New York Methodist Hospital, 506 6th St Brooklyn, NY, 11215, USA. Tel.: +1 718 780 5260; E-mail: E-mail: