The Special Care Nursery Program at Women & Infants is a multi-disciplinary program that provides family based services for the assessment and developmental care of high risk infants. It is targeted specifically for families with infants who must spend time in the Special Care and Continuing Care Nurseries. Referrals to the Special Care Nursery Program are made by the Special Care Nursery staff. Infants and their families may be referred for services for a variety of reasons, including feeding difficulties and the need for developmental support or anticipatory guidance.
Occupational therapy and psychology services are available during the nursery stay, and at home, to provide developmental, behavioral and feeding assessment, consultation and intervention. An additional focus of the program is on facilitating parent-infant relationships and parental coping and adjustment. The Special Care Nursery Program supports families and prepares them to take home infants who have spent time in the nursery by helping address some of their concerns, such as:
- How can we participate in our baby's care in the nursery?
- What can we do to make our baby more comfortable?
- How is our baby progressing, developmentally?
- What can we do to promote our baby's development?
- What should we expect when we first bring our baby home?
- Will we know what to do it something seems wrong?
- What can we do to make our baby's transition home go smoothly for our family?
Services typically begin while the baby is in the hospital and can continue during the transition home. Some of the services provided in the hospital are assessments of the baby's feeding and development, creation of a care plan for the baby, working with caregivers to understand the baby's signals, and helping caregivers manage stress which often accompanies having a special care baby. We also provide services after discharge, which address concerns about the infant's behavior or development, and the infant's transition to the new home environment. Families are offered information and support as they adapt to caring for their baby at home.