Who goes to the Infant Follow-Up Program?
The Infant Follow-Up Program (IFUP) is open to all infants who have been patients in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Children's Hospital and referring community hospitals, whose gestational age at birth was less than 32 weeks.
When is the first visit?
Typically the first visit to the IFUP happens when your child is between 6 and 12 months old. Earlier visits may be requested for specific medical, developmental, or social concerns. In fact, we have recently begun to see patients around three months from NICU discharge. We continue to follow children until they transition to preschool (usually around three years of age).
What happens during the visit?
Each visit includes a medical and developmental evaluation and may include a consultation with a pediatrician, neonatologist (doctor specializing in newborn medicine), physical therapist, psychologist, social worker or pediatric neurologist.
Based on the results of the comprehensive evaluation, the team will provide feedback on your child's developmental progress. This feedback with include areas of strength and weakness for your child, as well as recommendations to enhance his or her development. Referrals are frequently made to Early Intervention programs, medical specialty services and community resources.
Do I take my child to this program instead of the pediatrician?
No. The Infant Follow-Up Program does not replace regular visits to your pediatrician. The program has been designed to complement the care provided by your pediatrician or community health center.
How is the Infant Follow-Up Program different from Early Intervention?
We provide consultation to families regarding development and medical issues that are specific to premature infants and Early Intervention provides direct services in your home. The IFUP performs a comprehensive developmental evaluation and gives feedback to families on the child's progress and recommendations for services and activities that can enhance his or her development. Early Intervention providers are welcome to accompany you on your child's visit to our program.
How frequent are the visits and what is the length of each visit?
We usually see children, for the first time, when they are around 3 to 6 months corrected age (from their due date). The frequency of the visits ranges from once every 3 to 12 months and is adjusted to your child's changing needs.
Our clinic meets once a week on Tuesday. Since your child will be evaluated by several specialists, you can expect the visit to last approximately three hours
Will I have a chance to discuss the results of the visit?
Yes. After your child's exam, the physician will provide you with feedback from the team's evaluation and also answer questions you might have. In addition, a written report of the visit will be mailed to you and your pediatrician, as well as other providers that you identify. We provide support in coordinating visits with other specialists, as well as with other community services your child might need.
How long after discharge do I need to call to make the first appointment?
We recommend you call us as soon as you get settled in at home because we make appointments several months in advance.
Whom should I call to schedule an appointment, or address further questions?
Contact our program coordinator, Jackie Cassel, at 617-355-6622. You may also email us at InfantFollowUp@childrens.harvard.edu or simply click the "Request an Appointment" button on the right-hand side of the screen.