Who can help you when the baby is already at home?
Finally at home! Parents worry when the fragile and small child is discharged and they take full care and responsibility. They are faced with a number of problems, difficulties and worries. Then a completely natural question arises: who and where to ask for help in raising the child, who will monitor the baby, is there a risk for disabilities, what to do?
The general practitioner (GP) takes the main role in conducting the treatment, as well as the follow-up monitoring and immunisations of your baby. Choose a doctor with a paediatric speciality, i.e. a paediatrician. If you have another child and have already chosen a GP for him/her, who meets your criteria for care and monitoring of newborn and older children, you can make the same choice again. If this is your first child, get your bearings and find a GP while the baby is still in the hospital. After you have made your choice, contact the doctor and arrange a visit as soon as possible after the baby’s discharge. Do not miss to present an epicrisis from the neonatal unit; this document contains important information about your baby. The paediatrician should be familiar with the complete medical history of your child.
Children’s consultation is an element of the outpatient paediatric care. It is performed through monthly and more frequent examinations, at the discretion of the doctor, where the physical and neuropsychiatric development of the child is checked. It includes physical examination by the doctor, measurement of the weight and height, and the head circumference. Current problems are discussed and when necessary, consultative examinations by specialists are scheduled, the mother’s behaviour to the child for the next month is discussed (number of feedings, quantity, bottle feeding food, etc.). It is useful to prepare in advance the questions you are to ask the specialist.
Place and role of the neonatologist in tracking the premature baby’s development
Parents are informed in the epicrisis and orally about their right to two follow up check-ups during the first month after the discharge. The neonatologist in charge performs these check-ups on fixed dates and during regular working hours. Do not miss them, prepare your questions, and specify everything that is not clear to you. The neonatologist also participates in the follow-up outpatient tracking of children with chronic complications together with other children’s professionals.
Follow up tracking is an invariable part of the health care for premature children. It begins in the neonatal intensive care units and in a few months’ time, they continue in outpatient and ambulatory settings and often finish years later. These children’s treatment requires funding, organisation and commitment of all. A general practitioner, neonatologist, paediatric neurologist, paediatric pulmonologist, ophthalmologist, paediatric otolaryngologist, kinesitherapist, and rehabilitator undertake the main commitment in this long and responsible process. More rarely specialised care is required from paediatric surgeon, paediatric orthopaedist, orthodontist, psychologist and other specialists. With these children, the role of the family is very important for the results.