License Verification Tool | Care of the Extremely Low Birth Weight Neonate
For the parents of an infant born with an extremely low birth weight (ELBW)? defined as <2,500 grams? the journey often begins with a shock. The recognition that they must provide care for this uniquely vulnerable newborn is only part of the challenge. Appropriate care of the ELBW infant requires a multidisciplinary team, the proper evaluation and support services, and a cradle-to-grave focus on family-centered care. Herein, we discuss the importance of ELBW neonatal care, described from the perspective of health care professionals.From the moment of birth, specialized care of the ELBW is a multidimensional process that may include both medical and developmental resources. The clinical features of infants with ELBW are complex, and an accurate assessment is critical to ensure a successful outcome. Furthermore, preterm infants need specialized follow-up care to diagnose and treat any long-term complications arising from their birth weight.ELBW neonatal care begins the moment a baby is born. Our medical team assesses the infant and stabilizes any medical condition present. Depending on the illness, we may recommend specific treatments, such as oxygen support, nutrition therapy, antibiotics, and phototherapy. We also provide psychological support by offering counseling and other interventions for the family. At the same time, we develop an individualized plan of care for the newborn and family. Our neonatologists and nurses provide family-centered care, and evaluate the infant?s medical, psychosocial, and developmental needs. For example, as part of neonatal follow-up care, we may provide developmental assessments for the child to identify any delays and establish shared, long-term goals. When infants are born with an ELBW, the family faces a challenging time. This is why our health care teams frequently collaborate with social service agencies, such as early intervention departments and local education agencies, to coordinate special services, home visits, and hospital visits. A family may also be referred to genetic counseling and perinatal mental health specialists for evaluation and consultations. Person-centered approaches, such as family-centered care and tailored health care plans, can help to ensure the best outcomes for both the baby and the family. Our health care teams provide comprehensive medical care, but also take into account the social and emotional needs of the family. For this, we rely on our interprofessional teams, who can help identify any unmet needs and shape family-centered care plans. ELBW birth is stressful for the family, and long-term follow-up care can help to ensure the best outcome. Our health care team can provide the essential medical services necessary, while considering the psychosocial needs of the family. It is essential that health care teams consider the family?s needs, as well as their cultural and environmental backgrounds, when developing individualized plans of care. No two families are the same, and with the patient at the center of our care, our health care teams strive to provide appropriate and personalized care to the infant and family. We strive to provide comprehensive support to help families through the difficult journey of ELBW care.