Purpose: To determine the extent to which alterations in health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and special healthcare needs are experienced by children born prematurely, compared to those born at term.
Study Design and Methods: A descriptive comparative design was utilized. A total of 96 children (preterm N = 47, term N = 49) completed the PedsQL 4.0 Generic Core Scales 8- to 12-year-old self-report version. Parents of both groups of children completed the PedsQL 4.0 Generic Core Scales parent-proxy version, the Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) Screener, and a demographic data form.
Results: Special healthcare needs were experienced by more than one half of the premature children evaluated. Mean HRQOL scores were significantly different between the children born prematurely and their peers born at term. Parents of both groups reported higher HRQOL scores than their children self-reported.
Clinical Nursing Implications: Given the sustained high rate of premature birth, understanding of current health status of children born prematurely is critical for maternal–child nurses. Advocacy and coordination of care are important to improve the healthcare provided to families of children born prematurely. Future nursing research should incorporate assessment of special healthcare needs and HRQOL of children.