Quality statement 2: Single point of contact

Quality statement

Parents or carers of a preterm baby who is eligible for enhanced developmental support are provided with a single point of contact for outreach care within the neonatal service.

Rationale

Many families can feel ill-equipped to care for their preterm baby following discharge, and they may experience high levels of anxiety after leaving the hospital. Being able to contact an expert in working with preterm children to ask questions or get support on non-acute issues can reduce this anxiety. It can also help with the identification and management of early developmental problems.

Quality measures

Structure

Evidence of local arrangements for a neonatal outreach team with expertise in the development of babies born preterm to be available through a single point of contact.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, service specifications.

Process

Proportion of preterm babies who are eligible for enhanced developmental support whose parents or carers are provided with a single point of contact for outreach care within the neonatal service.

Numerator – the number in the denominator whose parents or carers are provided with a single point of contact for outreach care within the neonatal service.

Denominator – the number of preterm babies who are eligible for enhanced developmental support.

Data source: Local data collection based on audits of patient care records.

Outcome

Proportion of parents or carers of a preterm baby who felt they could access support for dealing with non-acute issues following discharge from neonatal services.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, parent or carer surveys.

What the quality statement means for different audiences

Service providers (neonatal services) ensure that healthcare professionals with expertise in children born preterm are available to provide information and support to parents or carers of a preterm baby having enhanced developmental support while their baby is followed up by neonatal services.

Healthcare professionals (such as neonatal nurses, specialist community nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and speech and language therapists) are part of a neonatal outreach team that is available through a single point of contact. They are available to answer questions about non-acute issues and support parents or carers of a preterm baby who is eligible for enhanced developmental support after discharge and while they are followed up by neonatal services.

Commissioners (NHS England) ensure that they commission services that have capacity and staff with expertise in children born preterm to provide a single point of contact for outreach care within the service. The outreach care should be available for parents or carers of a preterm baby who is eligible for enhanced developmental support while their baby is followed up by neonatal services. They undertake contract monitoring and seek evidence that service providers have this in place.

Parents or carers of a preterm baby who is having extra support know how to contact someone to speak to if they have any worries about looking after their baby while their baby is followed up by neonatal services.

Source guidance

Developmental follow-up of children and young people born preterm (2017) NICE guideline NG72, recommendation 1.3.4

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Preterm baby eligible for enhanced developmental support

Babies born before 37+0 weeks of pregnancy who:

  • have a developmental problem or disorder or

  • are at increased risk of developmental problems or disorders, based on the following criteria:

    • born before 30+0 weeks' gestation or

    • born between 30+0 and 36+6 weeks' gestation and has or had 1 or more of the following risk factors:

      • a brain lesion on neuroimaging likely to be associated with developmental problems or disorders (for example, grade 3 or 4 intraventricular haemorrhage or cystic periventricular leukomalacia)

      • grade 2 or 3 hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy in the neonatal period

      • neonatal bacterial meningitis

      • herpes simplex encephalitis in the neonatal period.

[NICE's guideline on developmental follow-up of children and young people born preterm, recommendation 1.3.1]

Enhanced developmental support

Support that includes additional advice and interventions with skilled professionals for children and young people born preterm and their parents and carers. The aim is to support them after discharge from hospital, respond to their concerns, and reduce the impact of any developmental problems and disorders. The support should be tailored to take account of individual preferences and needs.

[NICE's guideline on developmental follow-up of children and young people born preterm, recommendation 1.3.5]

Single point of contact for outreach care

This could be a telephone helpline, e-mail address, or other messaging service. A single point of contact within the neonatal service will be staffed by experts in preterm development. While their baby is followed up by neonatal services after discharge from hospital, parents or carers can seek advice from this contact on non-acute feeding, breathing, crying and sleeping issues, and get support.

[Adapted from NICE's full guideline on developmental follow-up of children and young people born preterm]