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Screening Tests

While in the NICU, infants may have several screening tests including:

Newborn Screening - The newborn screening is the blood test required by Illinois state law that checks for many metabolic and genetic disorders. The test usually is done within the first week of life and may be repeated on very sick or preterm infants again after several weeks. Results usually are available within two weeks. 

Eye Exams - Eye screenings are done on premature infants and those who have required oxygen support. Term or nearly term infants do not routinely need an eye examination, but it may be done if your baby’s doctor feels it is necessary. Results are available at the completion of the exam.

Hearing Screening - A hearing screening is done on all infants before discharge from the hospital. If the baby needs additional testing, a more extensive BAER screening is performed.

Car Seat Challenge - Before discharge, each premature infant is tested to ensure he/she can tolerate sitting in the car seat. Please bring your car seat to the NICU. Before taking baby home, be sure you know how to install your car seat. A certified car seat technician is available to help you learn proper car seat use and positioning. Also, local police can provide instruction on how to properly install the seat. Please call them well before the day of discharge to check the proper installation of the seat in your car.

Infant Safety Class - Our staff offers an infant safety class for the parents of NICU patients covering basic home safety and infant CPR. It is not a CPR certification class. Please arrange to attend the class with the NICU nurses before your infant’s anticipated discharge. 

Medications - We will teach you how to properly give medications to your baby at home. Usually, prescriptions are filled a few days before discharge which you can bring to the hospital to be checked by the nursing staff.

You will be given written discharge instructions when it is time to take baby home, which will include any follow-up appointments with doctors as well as outpatient testing and therapies that may be needed. A home health nurse visit may be arranged as well.

Once home, you will receive a phone call to arrange an optional in-home visit by the county public health nurse. A developmental follow-up visit is available for many infants discharged from the NICU. A social worker will refer you to agencies that provide a variety of services that may be appropriate for your baby. 

Outpatient Therapy - The therapists involved in your baby’s care while in the NICU may recommend further physical, occupational and/or speech therapy. The neonatologist will write a prescription for outpatient therapy. Rush Copley Medical Center has pediatric services available, as do other providers in the area.

Child & Family Connections (CFC)/Early Invention Program (EI) - This statewide program addresses the needs of children from birth to age three. Your child’s needs are assessed by a network of professionals who then work together to coordinate a plan of care that may include therapy, support groups, family support and/or assistance, education and other resources. There are certain eligibility requirements to be met and a monthly co-payment may be required.

Developmental Follow-Up Clinic - Your child’s eligibility for the Developmental Follow-Up Clinic is determined by the neonatologist and/or social worker. Clinic visits include a review of your baby’s developmental progress by an interdisciplinary team led by a pediatrician with special training in development. You may be referred to other resources as necessary, as your infant continues to grow.