Ann & Robert Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago expands upon a pilot begun through a Patrick M. Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities Grant. Project INITIATE targets children discharged from three renowned level III NICU's in Chicago in order to provide prompt and equitable therapy service that improves infant and family outcomes. Lurie Children's Hospital will expand its pilot and be joined by the Neonatal Intensive Care Units at University of Chicago Hospital and University of Illinois at Chicago Hospital. The study will test the feasibility of a NICU-to-home service delivery model for infants at high risk for neuromotor complications. The secondary objective will be to compare motor outcomes at 3-4 months corrected age in Project INITIATE participants and those who received the standard discharge services and to compare parental quality-of-life outcomes at discharge and at 3-4 months.
The pilot was designed in response to baseline data showing only 34.1% of the children discharged and referred for therapy and services through the Early Intervention Program were receiving service 3 months later. There is strong evidence of long-term benefits associated with early, targeted therapy. For many infants in historically underserved communities, the benefits of these services are not realized because numerous barriers to timely access to Early Intervention exist, leaving some of the most vulnerable children with service gaps that may adversely affect their long-term function.
Project INITIATE tests the feasibility of a NICU-to-home service delivery model which provides interim services for infants until EI provides services identified in the infant's Individualized Family Service Plan. Outcome data for infants and their families and lessons learned about the process of connecting families to Early Intervention will inform recommendations for system improvements.