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What is the long-term treatment for premature babies?

Premature babies have unique issues that may need to be provided for by individualized follow-up services over the long term. These may include Bayley developmental assessments conducted by pediatric physical and occupational therapists, dietician counseling, social services evaluation and physical examination.

“Early intervention is the key to appropriate motor and cognitive development in premature children,” says Santa Monica clinic coordinator Pat Croshere, RN. A multidisciplinary clinic may provide a formal assessment at 6 months of age and then continue to monitor children for appropriate growth and developmental milestones at 12 and 18 months of age. Some children are evaluated earlier than 6 months and continue to visit the clinic until they are 3 years old.

Following assessment of the child, a recommendation is sent to the family’s doctor. Parents may also receive recommendations for additional services provided by regional centers for children with developmental disabilities and chronic medical conditions. Education and counseling include appropriate feeding guidelines, instructions to improve musculature along the child’s spine and overall trunk control and advice to guide development of the child’s language and reading skills and to provide appropriate stimulation.

The long-term treatment for premature babies is dependent on the degree of prematurity and comorbidities. Many premature babies proceed to develop normally. There is a higher degree of risk involved with premature babies, and doctors will tend to want more frequent visits at least at the beginning.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.