Survey of neurodevelopmental allied health teams in Australian and New Zealand neonatal nurseries: Staff profile and standardised neurobehavioural/neurological assessment
AuthorAllinson, LG; Doyle, LW; Denehy, L; Spittle, AJ
Source TitleJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
AffiliationObstetrics and Gynaecology
Melbourne School of Health Sciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsAllinson, L. G., Doyle, L. W., Denehy, L. & Spittle, A. J. (2017). Survey of neurodevelopmental allied health teams in Australian and New Zealand neonatal nurseries: Staff profile and standardised neurobehavioural/neurological assessment. JOURNAL OF PAEDIATRICS AND CHILD HEALTH, 53 (6), pp.578-584. https://doi.org/10.1111/jpc.13484.
Access StatusOpen Access
NHMRC Grant codeNHMRC/1108714
AIMS: The primary aim of this study was to establish how many neonatal nurseries in Australia and New Zealand had a neurodevelopmental allied health team, to ascertain the disciplines involved, their qualifications and experience. The secondary aim was to evaluate which standardised neurobehavioural/neurological assessments were currently being implemented, and the existing practice in relation to their use. METHODS: A descriptive cross-sectional survey, sampling 179 eligible public and private hospital neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and special care nurseries (SCNs) throughout Australia and New Zealand, was purpose-developed and administered electronically from the 5th April to 23rd July 2013. RESULTS: A total of 117 units (65%) overall, and 26 of 26 (100%) NICUs responded to the survey. NICUs had more neurodevelopmental allied health staff than SCNs, with physiotherapists and speech pathologists the most common disciplines. Physiotherapists were more likely to administer standardised neurobehavioural/neurological assessments in NICUs, while medical staff were more likely to do so in SCNs. A wide variety of standardised neurobehavioural/neurological assessment tools were used, with Prechtl's General Movements Assessment the most common in the NICUs (50%) and the Hammersmith Neonatal Neurological Examination the most common in the special care units (25%). Standardised neurobehavioural assessments were not administered in 22% of SCNs. CONCLUSIONS: Although neurodevelopmental allied health teams and standardised neurobehavioural/neurological assessments are valued by many, there was little consistency across Australian and New Zealand neonatal nurseries.
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