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February 1993

Developmental Needs of Infants and Toddlers Who Require Lengthy Hospitalization

Author Affiliations

From the University of Pittsburgh (Pa) School of Medicine (Drs Feldman and Hofkosh) and the Developmental Support Project, Child Development Unit (Dr Ploof and Mr Goehring), Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Am J Dis Child. 1993;147(2):211-215. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1993.02160260101034

• Objectives.  —To describe demographic and medical characteristics of a sample of children younger than age 3 years who required lengthy hospitalization in a tertiary care hospital. To determine the proportion of children in the sample with biologic handicaps, developmental delays, or risk factors for developmental disorders who met eligibility criteria for early intervention services based on federal law PL 99-457 and state regulations.

Design.  —Survey of medical records.

Setting.  —Large, urban, tertiary care children's hospital. Patients.—All 135 children younger than age 3 years hospitalized for more than 30 days during 1990 and 1991. Interventions.—None.

Main Results.  —The most prevalent cause of lengthy hospitalization was congenital anomaly followed by chronic and perinatal conditions; 38 patients (28%) required technology assistance at the time of discharge. Seventy-three children (54%) were eligible for early intervention services based on the presence of a biologic handicap or developmental delay. An additional 48 patients (36%) were eligible for developmental screening and periodic developmental monitoring on the basis of medical and social risk factors.

Conclusions.  —Because of the high prevalence of developmental disorders and risk factors in infants and toddlers requiring lengthy hospitalizations, hospital-wide systems for identification, developmental assessment, and early intervention services should be designed and implemented.(AJDC. 1993;147:211-215)

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