A telehealth nursing intervention to improve the transition from the neonatal intensive care unit to home for infants & caregivers: Preliminary evaluation

Published:September 15, 2022DOI:


      • Transition from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to home is challenging
      • A nurse-led telehealth intervention, Baby Steps, addresses this gap
      • Within the first 18 months of the program, 378 infants were enrolled
      • Caregivers indicated high satisfaction and high likelihood to act on nursing advice
      • Readmissions and unplanned emergency care use were significantly decreased



      The purpose of this nurse-led telehealth intervention was to support caregivers and infants during the difficult period of transition from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to home.


      The Baby Steps project was designed using quality improvement methodology, and was implemented in April 2020 at a stand-alone pediatric institution in South Florida. Using a nurse-led telehealth model, follow-up nursing care was provided in the home setting for two weeks after discharge. Any infant cared for in the NICU and discharged to a home setting in the state of Florida was eligible for services. Encounters included assessment, anticipatory guidance, connection with community resources, and general support. Caregiver satisfaction, unplanned emergency care use, and 30-day readmissions were assessed.


      Within the first 18 months of the program, a total of 378 infants were enrolled, and 74.6% received follow-up services in the home setting (n = 282). Caregivers reported high satisfaction with the program (100% strongly agree or agree). There was a 46% decrease in 30-day readmissions from baseline rates, and a substantial decrease in use of emergency care services within a month of discharge as compared to infants discharged during the same time period who did not receive services (30.9% vs.13.8%).


      This nurse-led intervention was found to be a feasible and highly satisfactory approach to improve NICU patient outcomes and support caregivers during transition from hospital to home.

      Practice implications

      Nurses can provide post-discharge telehealth support, which not only improves caregiver satisfaction but also decreases readmissions and emergency care use among NICU patients.


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