The incidence of premature infants with complex medical needs, dependent upon medical technology at discharge, is on the rise in the United States.
Preparing the family for the hospital-to-home transition can be challenging due to the complex medical and emotional needs of the vulnerable infant and the volume of subspecialty services and equipment required.
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There is an increasing incidence of technology dependent infants discharged from neonatal intensive care units in the United States. Transition from hospital to home requires lengthy preparation, multidisciplinary-open communication, and family centered care.
Implications for Practice:
Early assimilation of the parents into the ongoing care of their infant, the provision of comprehendible parental education by neonatal nurses and other members of the healthcare team, the provision of adequate rooming-in experiences prior to discharge, and the collaborative coordination of outpatient community services are crucial elements of the discharge process. Neonatal nurses possess population-specific education, training, commitment, and expertise that make them the ideal experts to implement and evaluate a discharge planning framework, in collaboration with the medical team and the family.
Implications for Research:
Methods to prevent readmission and ensure successful discharge from hospital to home is indicated. Standardization of a discharge process of infants of technology dependence combining medical team, family, outpatient coordinators, and primary care providers.