Very low birth weight (VLBW) infants are known to experience more health problems after discharge from the hospital, but the effects of such problems in terms of the demand for medical care and of the effect of this on the family are only just beginning to be described. A survey of the families of 132 children who were born weighing<1750 g at mostly suburban hospitals and transported to a Children's Hospital, who were 1-4 years old at the time of the survey, has revealed that these children continue to experience health problems to the extent that 35% are limited in one or more activities of daily living. They also incur greater use of health care services (17% hospitalized in the prior year; 54% with a doctor's visit in the prior month). The most important predictors of high perceived impact of these problems on the family is related to the number of activities limited by health, the age of the child, and the financial resources the family could bring to coping with the child's care. These findings provide further characterization of the families which may be most vulnerable to the ongoing health problems of the VLBW infant. J Dev Behav Pediatr 7:217-223, 1986.
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