Preemie Matters - May 2014

In this issue of Preemie Matters: NICU Transition Toolkit • AWHONN Convention • Breast Milk Benefit to Preemies  • Gut Bacteria Linked to Infections in Preterm Babies • Parents of Preemies Day • Burnout in the NICU

AHRQ's Transitioning Newborns from the NICU to Their New Home Toolkit

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently launched a toolkit to enhance the process through which infants are discharged from the NICU. The Transitioning Newborns from NICU to Home Toolkit, with resources for medical professionals and parents to create a smooth and safe transition into the home environment for fragile newborn infants, includes: Health Coach Programs, Information Packets for Families, NICU Needs Assessment, Clinical Materials to Share with Primary Care Providers, and Follow up Telephone Surveys. This free-of-charge manual was designed to be adapted for any institution that cares for preemies and other fragile newborns.


The Association of Women's Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) is a nonprofit membership organization committed to improving and promoting the the health of women and newborns, as well as strengthening the nursing profession through research, education, and advocacy. AWHONN provides nurses and other professionals with clinical resources, guidelines, publications, and extensive support. AWHONN will host their annual convention June 14-18 at the Disney Coronado Spring Resort in Orlando, Florida. Attendees at the upcoming convention will be inspired to become better healthcare providers, leaders, and professionals in their field.

Breast Milk Confers Benefits to Preemies

According to data presented at the 2014 Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting, maternal breast milk confers important benefits to preterm infants. Dr. Katherine Gregory and colleagues from Brigham and Women's Hospital concluded that feeding with maternal breast milk may not only help establish an optimal pattern of infant gut microbiota, but may also help protect against the use of antibiotics at birth. The researchers investigated the effect of different feeding patterns on the establishment of preterm infants' intestinal microbiota. Thirty preterm infants aged less than 32 weeks' gestation received either maternal breast milk, pasteurized donor human milk, or infant formula. The study found that all groups experienced a high frequency of Staphylococcus during the two weeks of observation, but those fed breast milk had the lowest incidence. Additionally, the infants given breast milk lost fewer phylotypes after exposure to antibiotics and recovered their microbiota more quickly compared to the infants in the other groups. "The analyses underscore the importance of feeding in establishment of the preterm infant intestinal microbiota," say the researchers.

Gut Bacteria Can Cause Life-Threatening Infection in Preterm Babies

A new study published in the Clinical Infectious Diseases Journal suggests that twenty percent of premature infants are at risk for contracting the life-threatening bloodstream infection, late-onset sepsis. Little is known about the environment in which sepsis flourishes, which motivated researchers to conduct a cohort study of 217 premature infants at risk for sepsis. Senior author Dr. Philip Tarr stated, "The germ that invades the infant's blood flourishes in their gastrointestinal tracts for at least a few days before it causes sepsis." Additionally, the researchers determined that "infants whose NICU stays overlapped occasionally transmit the bacterial infection to other infants." The findings from this study should be used by healthcare professionals to develop a treatment strategy for this life-threatening bloodstream infection to protect the health of the fragile infants in the NICU.

Parents of Preemies Day

Parents of Preemies Day (PoPD) is a day of awareness created to recognize the courage and commitment of millions of preemie parents who stay strong and resilient during an extremely challenging time. On May 4th, hundreds of parents across the country celebrated the 4th annual PoPD through community events, NICU reunion events, at home, in NICUs, and online via the second annual PoPD Twitter chat. Thanks to coverage from  BlogHer, preemie parent bloggers, and various newspapers, more people now know about Parents of Preemies Day than ever before! Learn more about the day on Facebook or

NICU Workers Report up to 54% Burnout

An analysis of a survey administered to healthcare workers at 44 NICUs reported burnout rates from 7.5 percent to 54.5 percent, according to a study in BMJ Quality and Safety. Non-physician staff members tended to report more burnout than physicians. Higher burnout rates were associated with the lack of a teamwork-like environment, lower job satisfaction, lower management skills, and poor working conditions. Overall, NICU caregiver burnout is correlated with lower perceptions of an organization's commitment of a patient safety culture.


Information is reported as provided and does not necessarily represent the view of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. A complete copy of HMHB’s disclaimer is available on our website.