Toddler Developmental Delays after Extensive Hospitalization: Primary Care Practitioner Guidelines
Dana C. Lehner and Lois S. Sadler
This review investigated developmental delays toddlers may encounter after a lengthy pediatric hospitalization (30 days or greater). Physical, motor, cognitive, and psychosocial development of children aged 1 to 3 years was reviewed to raise awareness of factors associated with developmental delay after extensive hospitalization. Findings from the literature suggest that neonatal and pediatric intensive care unit (NICU/PICU) graduates are most at risk for developmental delays, but even non-critical hospital stays interrupt development to some extent. Primary care practitioners (PCPs) may be able to minimize risk for delays through the use of formal developmental screening tests and parent report surveys. References and resources are described for developmental assessment to help clinicians recognize delays and to educate families about optimal toddler development interventions. Pediatric PCPs play a leading role in coordinating health and developmental services for the young child following an extensive hospital stay.