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Preparing to Address Challenges in the Medical System

Early Identification and Referral

Preparing to Address Challenges in the Medical System

Early Identification and Referral

This page was last updated on Apr 29, 2014 at 12:28 pm


Historically, state deaf-blind projects have experienced varying levels of success in improving early identification and referral of infants and toddlers. To address this challenge, state deaf-blind projects have found ways to share their most successful strategies. Recent work has also involved the examination of evidence-based early identification and referral practices to build on past efforts and respond to current funding requirements.

The activities included here are examples of strategies that lay the foundation for focused implementation efforts. They are closely aligned with evidence-based practices which have been identified as having particular relevance for our network. Start here – then move on to Resources for Under-Identification and Resources for Under-Referral, which provide clear steps for implementing practices that have a record of producing positive results. 

Do Your Homework

  • Increase staff knowledge about the intensive care nurseries in your state
  • Increase staff knowledge about the medical home model
  • Let parents who have long-time relationships with hospitals help you learn how things work
  • Increase staff knowledge about professional organizations in your state
  • Be prepared with data and research to back up conversations and presentations

Make Connections

  • Look for staff and family connections to medical personnel and take advantage of existing opportunities
  • Develop relationships with NICU social workers, discharge nurses and child life specialists
  • Arrange a NICU tour (if hospital allows)
  • Consider NICU and PICU follow-up clinics (e.g. Preemies, Cranio-facial) as potential partners 
  • Broaden scope beyond physicians and hospitals (e.g. home health care, public health nurses, baby clinics)
  • Use parents who have long-time relationship with hospitals to help you make connections
  • Conduct outreach to geneticists and other specialists involved with research related to etiologies associated with deaf-blindness

Get the word out

  • Make sure your materials are well-done and professional looking
  • Use concise, research-based information
  • Provide brochures/fact sheets/referral information to be included in information given to NICU families at time of discharge
  • Provide brochures/fact sheets/referral information to developmental and genetic clinics throughout your state
  • Provide training on characteristics and risk factors to neonatal and pediatric nurses
  • Provide awareness materials and/or training to Allied Health professionals (speech/language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, nutritionists)
  • Look for opportunities for parents to tell their story

Resources for Under-Identification

Resources for Under-Referral

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