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NH AWHONN Newsletter
AWHONN's Near-Term Initiative

AWHONN has "launched" its initiative to address the needs of the near-term infant. The goal of this initiative is to improve the health outcomes of infants born between 34 and 37 weeks gestation. They are a unique population who appear healthy and robust at birth, but who have very special needs due to their "young" and slightly premature status.

They are challenged by the increased potential for health problems such as respiratory difficulty, hypoglycemia, temperature instability, hyperbilirubinemia, sepsis, and difficulty related to feeding. These infants require age-appropriate assessments, and their families need modified education to prepare them for parenting and support them through an often "bumpy" course in the early weeks. The full-term care plan does not appropriately address the framework of the near-term infant's needs. It simply does not "fit", and they need their own care map to promote healthy outcomes!

One approach of the initiative will be to provide resources to raise awareness and educate health care providers and the public regarding the near-term infant. A second edition of AWHONN's Hyperbilirubinemia Monograph, addressing the near-term infant, has been written. AWHONN will be providing assessment tools, and evidence-based practice guidelines for hospitals and home health agencies to use as resources and educational references. Look for expanded bibliographies in JOGNN and Lifelines in the near future. The first article, "The Conceptual Framework for Delivery of Care to the Near-Term Infant" will appear in the November/December 2005 issue of JOGNN.

It is an exciting time as the initiative unfolds, while we connect "what we know" to "what we do," and watch how practice guidelines and nursing care changes in order to give the very best care to this vulnerable population.

Submitted by: Chris Grunewald, BSN, RNC, Clinical Educator, Maternity Dept., Southern NH Medical Center, Nashua, NH
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