Discharge management

After transfer from the neonatal intensive care to the normal care unit, the close contact between parents and child intensifies. With each day, the parents know their child better and acquire more skills in the care for their baby. Also in the normal care unit, this process of “getting to know each other” requires continued 24 hour access to the baby, the possibility of close physical contact and intimacy between parents and child as well as sensitive support of parents from the nurses.

In this last phase of hospital stay the possibility of „rooming in“ allows parents to gain the degree of  self-confidence and security in the care for their child they need for the time after discharge from the clinic. At latest now is the time to create opportunities for the siblings to visit their preterm born brother or sister and to intensify the bonding process within the family as a whole.

An important means of support and encouragement after discharge can be the exchange with other parents who experienced preterm birth in self-help groups. Local parent groups can be found with the help of the federal association. You will find a link to the national preterm birth associations in your country at European National Parent's Organisations. If you are looking for direct help and advice please feel welcome to get in touch with the respective group.

Suddenly, the moment of discharge is approaching and the thought of bringing the baby home often causes feelings of both, fear and relief. Over the past weeks or months spent in the intensive care unit, the family relied entirely on the support by the NICU staff and got used to the fact that there were always experts around them to answer their questions and give advice. At home, the parents will have to handle the care for their baby on their own.

Expectations of “getting back into normal life” after discharge are high and often, parents are disappointed. They may feel insecure and thus cannot handle their child in a relaxed manner, fear the future and are exhausted by the daily challenges.


Further information about going home can be found here: www.babyfirst.com