Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Newborn Care

Developmental Follow-Up

 Developmental Follow-Up Clinic



 The Developmental Follow-Up Clinic operates Monday to Friday and performs 3 distinct roles:

  •  Early detection of abnormal neurodevelopment and initiation of appropriate therapies.
  •  Continuing quality assurance for NICU outcomes.
  •  Follow-up data for perinatal research.

The follow-up team consists of a nurse coordinator (Claudia Schwatlo), Developmental Paediatrician (Dr Ingrid Rieger), Neonatologist (Dr Angela McGillivray), Clinical Psychologists (Dr Crista Wocadlo and Alanna Byrne), Paediatric Physiotherapists (Caroline Hardman and Melanie Bollen) and one of the current Neonatal Fellows.

Inclusion criteria

Since the early 80s, babies at risk of abnormal neurodevelopment have been offered follow-up following discharge from the neonatal nursery. There have been minor variations in the inclusion criteria during this period but these are currently the following groups:

  • Infants born less than 30 weeks gestation
  • Preterm infants whose birth weight is less than the 3rd centile
  • Infants with moderate or severe hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (stage 2 or 3)
  • Infants with chronic neonatal lung disease (over 28 days respiratory support AND respiratory support beyond 36 weeks postmenstrual age) who do not meet other follow up criteria
  • Infants with neurological concerns including infants with neonatal seizures, CNS infections, neonatal stroke and haemorrhage. 

Babies not qualifying for the developmental follow-up clinic are offered individualised follow-up at the discretion of the Attending Medical Officer (AMO).

 Follow-up schedule (less than 30 weeks gestation)

Corrected age is used until 2 years of age:

  • 6 weeks (physical examination)
  • 12 weeks General Movements assessment
  • 4 months (medical and physiotherapy)
  • 8 months (medical, physiotherapy, visual testing)
  • 1 year (medical and developmental)
  • 3 years (medical and developmental assessment)
  • 5 years (medical and psychometric assessment, vision and hearing)
  • 8 years (cognitive, educational, neuropsychometric, gross motor assessment) 

Babies enrolled in follow-up for indications other than being less than 30 weeks gestation are folllowed according to an individual schedule according to need.