The acceptability and feasibility of emailed parent questionnaires for medical and developmental surveillance after NICU discharge

J Perinatol. 2018 Apr;38(4):392-401. doi: 10.1038/s41372-017-0022-6. Epub 2017 Dec 22.


Objectives: The following are the objectives of this study: (1) Assess the feasibility and acceptability of emailing parent-reported measures of infant health and development after NICU discharge. (2) Examine whether post-discharge questionnaire data helps identify infants most likely to benefit from specialized follow-up care.

Study design: Parents of 51 infants <32 weeks' gestation received email questionnaires at 44 weeks postmenstrual age (PMA) and 6 months corrected age (CA). Adverse infant outcomes were assessed in-person at 6 months: (1) Bayley-III cognitive or motor score <85; (2) weight, length, or head circumference <10th percentile; (3) new referral for medical or developmental services.

Results: Questionnaire response was 48 (94%) at 44 weeks PMA and 46 (90%) at 6 months CA. 36 (70%) infants were assessed at 6 months; 72% had at least 1 adverse outcome. Poorer transition home, feeding problems, and special health care needs at 44 weeks PMA predicted adverse outcomes. Feeding problems, maternal depression, and lower infant health-related quality of life at 6 months CA correlated with adverse outcomes.

Conclusions: Emailed questionnaires after NICU discharge were feasible to implement and acceptable to families. Repeated post-discharge assessments may help identify infants at heightened health and developmental risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Boston
  • Electronic Mail*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Premature / growth & development*
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Male
  • Parents*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Telemedicine