Families Caring for Preemies are at Risk

Family support program for preterm infants and their families

From 1995 to 1996, staff from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care developed a model for a family support program to address problems encountered by pre-term infants and their families.

As part of the development process, project staff identified and interviewed members who had pre-term infants and the providers who were responsible for their care.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Chronic Care Initiatives in HMOs national program.

Key Findings

  • Project staff developed and established a family support program model for pre-term families that can help health plans intervene early and effectively to ease the stress these families experience.

  • Based on interviews with members who had pre-term infants and the providers who were responsible for their care, project staff recommended that:

    • Families need up-to-date information on caring for pre-term infants, especially in the first two years after birth.
    • Regular educational sessions with HMO physicians and neonatal intensive care unit hospital staff should focus on communication among providers and ways to deal with the stresses that families of pre-term infants face.

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