Newborn Follow-up is a program provided by Russell Child Development Center in partnership with St. Catherine Hospital.RCDC employs an early intervention nurse who maintains affiliate status allowing daily, direct, on-floor contact with patients in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at St. Catherine Hospital and coordinates with larger hospitals in Wichita, Kansas City, and Denver.

The newborn follow-up nurse:

* Provides in-hospital consultations;

* Consults with families about feeding difficulties;

* Assists in planning hospital-to-home transitions; and

* Provides follow-up depending on the child's needs.

The Newborn Follow-up program with RCDC is highly valued by pediatricians and nurses in the area, as well as by regional hospitals, for providing accessible, flexible and timely responses to immediate and unexpected needs.

Next to feeding, parents worry most about their baby's development. For babies who had a difficult start, spent time in a NICU, or have a chronic condition or disability, the newborn follow-up nurse is able to provide immediate support and resources to the family.

The newborn follow-up nurse works collaboratively with a team of RCDC Early Intervention professionals and with the baby's doctor to monitor development. Some of the areas that are monitored include: feeding and nutrition, physical development, vision, hearing and interactions with others.

The RCDC staff consists of experienced physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech/language pathologists, early intervention teachers and nurses. These highly trained professionals provide families with valuable information on a variety of topics that relate to infant and toddler development.

As with all tiny-k Early Intervention services, newborn follow-up is provided at no cost to families. Funding is provided by local, state and federal sources. These services can be accessed by contacting RCDC at 275-0291.

Jill Reagle is the tiny-k coordinator at Russell Child Development Center.