Did you know changes in models of care increase preventative therapy referrals?

In a 2019 article, the Royal London Children’s Hospital in the United Kingdom reported on a Quality Improvement Project that was conducted in their Level II NICU.  The Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) team believed that the current model of problem-based referrals was missing or delaying opportunities to provide preventative care.  A seven month pilot project was carried out, and highlighted the presence of the SALT team on rounds and the introduction of a referral system with revised referral criteria.  Results showed babies who were not previously considered to need a preventative referral were referred (276% increase) after discussion on rounds.  There was also a significant increase in the SALT team providing help with supplementary lactation and breastfeeding support.  Evidence also suggested the medical team started to independently identify babies (100% increase) requiring preventative referrals due to the presence and education of SALT on the unit and during rounds.  There was no significant change in the number of problem-based referrals but quicker initial assessments and interventions increased positive early feeding experiences.  The SALT team was able to help the medical team identify babies earlier in their journey, support oral feeding, provide valuable support to parents, and facilitate skin-to-skin.  The results of the quality improvement project demonstrated the immediate benefits of how regular and integrated SALT team members can positively impact best practices.

Are you looking to improve neuroprotective care or therapy services in your unit?  Through NTMC (Neonatal Touch & Massage Certification), NOLE (Neonatal On-Line Education), and Customized Education, Creative Therapy Consultants provides extensive, clinically relevant, evidenced-based education to maximize the neuroprotective care provided by NICU therapists, RN, and other neonatal professionals.  Learn more about our specialized education here.

Peck, M., Connolly, A., Carty, B. (2019) Can the regular presence of speech and language therapy (SALT) make a difference to best practice on a neonatal unit? Journal of Neonatal Nursing,  doi: 10.1016/j.jnn.2019.04.001