It is well established within pediatric and neonatal medicine that social and traditionally "non-medical" aspects of the home environment and conditions after discharge influence neonatal health both in the acute and long-term setting. Government programs and laws exist that are designed for the provision of basic pediatric health needs. Unfortunately, deficits in obtaining those services lead to preventable poor health outcomes. Hospital social workers and discharge planners are able to identify appropriate services, while lawyers are experts in ensuring those rights and services are actually obtained and delivered.
West Side Health of CCHS has implemented a medical-legal partnership along the pathways advocated by the Medical Legal Partnership for Children as part of their clinical care services. Before implementing a similar system in the NICU, a needs assessment will be performed first.
The purpose of this study is to determine what the health care team (physicians, nurses, social workers, discharge planners, etc) through our discharge planning practice establishes as the legal needs. We will collect information which is normally collected by the health care team as a part of their usual care and assessment for discharge planning. The families will not be approached directly by study staff.