Former premature infants are commonly discharged from the NICU weeks before their due dates with weights of under 5 pounds often with hospital level therapies including oxygen and gavage tube feedings, but without the necessary support and tools to succeed in the home.
While parents are aware that their former premature infant are not the same as term infants they are often unaware of the significantly higher mortality rates, hospital readmissions, and ongoing medical needs that their infant will require compared to full term infants.
Graduating from the NICU is not the end of these infants healthcare journey instead, it signifies the close of one chapter and the beginning of another. At Firstday Healthcare, we’re committed to bridging this gap, offering tailored assistance that recognizes the unique challenges these families encounter and providing the tools they need to navigate this critical phase successfully.
According to the March of Dimes a quarter of all parents who had a baby in the NICU suffer from symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms at home including flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and physical symptoms when reminded of the trauma associated with having an infant in the NICU.
This is true even for celebrity NICU parents such as Priyanka Chopra whose premature daughter Malti spent over 100 days in the NICU as related in People magazine, “In the NICU, you know your child is alive because you can see their heartbeat (on the monitor). I couldn’t sleep for days because now suddenly she was home without a monitor, I used to put my ear on her chest. I would wake up every couple of minutes just to see if she was OK. For weeks, this went on.”
At Firstday Healthcare we provide overwhelmed parents with the reassurance that they can sleep peacefully knowing that their infant’s vital signs are being continuously monitored and that they have the 24/7 support of neonatal healthcare providers accustomed to the unique needs of premature infants.
It’s 2am and your former premature infant started coughing. You try to call your pediatrician and get a call back from a night service nurse you have never met before; your instinct is to just go to the ER “to be safe” this is understandable given the heightened level of anxiety parents of premature infants have given their fragile condition and limited options provided.
However, this is often the least desirable option given your infants weakened immune system and susceptibility to catching an infection in the hospital that they may not even have had in the first place. With Firstday Healthcare we are able to provide an alternative option to a 2am ER visit that can than often lead to decrease readmissions by providing the needed care and monitoring at home and decrease exposure to bacteria and viruses including RSV and Covid-19.
Due to the lack of tools to support infants upon NICU discharge it is often easier for Neonatologists to keep infants longer in the NICU than try to discharge them home. In fact it is estimated that 25% of the days an infant is in the NICU they are not even receiving intensive level care!
By partnering with your Neonatologist Firstday Healthcare is able to provide an alternative solution upon discharge and offer confidence to the discharging team that they are not sending your infant home alone thus potentially leading to an earlier discharge date.