• Early Hearing Detection: Using Pre-Discharge Education and Standardized Referrals to Reduce Lost-To-Follow-Up Rates

      Riggs, Julie; Gourley, Bridgitte; Clark, Karen, Ph.D., R.N. (2019-05)
      Background: There are lags in ensuring that infants who do not pass their hospital newborn hearing screens receive the follow-up testing they need by the recommended three-month benchmark. The purpose of this project is to address disparities in infants lost to follow-up (LTF) by implementing a program for pre-discharge education and referral plan to free follow-up care at a suburban hospital in a mid-Atlantic state. Intervention: A partnership between the state department of health and a local university audiology program provided education and free follow-up testing of infants who did not pass the newborn hearing screen. Audiology technicians provided a screening result card to families, which also included hearing developmental milestones. Families received brief verbal education about the test result and the urgent need for a retest for those who did not pass. Infants requiring follow-up received appointments with the partner audiology clinic for a free evaluation. Results: 216 infants were born at the site and 214 babies received the in-hospital hearing screens. All 214 babies passed the in-hospital screens and did not require referral. An additional three babies were referred to the university clinic from other sites. Conclusion: This project did not yield opportunities for evaluation of LTF due to low birth volume during the short data collection period. However, this project indicated future potential for positive change. Families responded well to the cards and engaged with the education. This partnership provided opportunities for follow-up of at-risk infants in the region and is likely a model worth continuing and expanding.