Health Professional News

Children’s Minnesota expands state’s only neonatal home-based monitoring program

Updated May 2023

The Kid Experts® At Home monitoring program is now available at all three of the organization’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) locations. The program allows infants in our neonatal units who meet certain criteria to be discharged from the hospital sooner, as expert care and monitoring continues at home. This cutting-edge program within Children’s Minnesota’s Neonatology Program is the only one of its kind in the state of Minnesota.

The Kid Experts® At Home first launched in 2021 as a pilot study at the Children’s Minnesota hospital in St. Paul. Now, the program also serves the Children’s Minnesota hospital in Minneapolis, and the Children’s Minnesota NICU at Mercy hospital in Coon Rapids.

Who can enroll?

Babies born preterm who are gradually learning to feed, but are otherwise generally healthy, can be enrolled in the program.

Why would this be beneficial?

Helping babies discharge earlier from a NICU stay allows families to care for their newborns at home with the full support of Children’s Minnesota’s neonatal expertise.

Mom holding baby and nurse leaning over to care for baby

How does this work?

Babies have a nasogastric tube (NG) present at the time of discharge, and are discharged home on a combination of oral and tube feedings. Families are then provided with a weighing scale, and secure access to a specialized app for a caregiver’s tablet or smartphone. This app allows parents to input information about the baby that is shared with their neonatal team. Families who enroll are trained by the team on proper NG position and oral feeding techniques, as well as how to perform CPR.

The benefits of going home earlier from a NICU stay

“Our innovative program gets healthy preterm infants out of the hospital sooner, where we know babies thrive best: with their families at home. This technology allows us to continue to participate in the care of the infants as they move from hospital to home and the care of their primary care pediatrician,” said Dr. Mark Bergeron, neonatologist and director of The Kid Experts® At Home. “It’s a great way to make that transition more seamless and less stressful for many families.”

The Kid Experts® At Home program study

The study evaluated how at-home care impacts babies’ ability to learn to feed, rates of breastfeeding, and overall patient-family satisfaction. Through this completed study, the Children’s Minnesota Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in St. Paul proved that home monitoring could be successfully implemented and proved safe for infants. After close monitoring of 20 patients within a one-year period, results indicated decreased time to full oral feeds.

About the Children’s Minnesota Neonatal Program

The Children’s Minnesota Neonatology Program is a vital resource for families in the region. Our neonatal team of more than 500 doctors, surgeons, neonatal nurse practitioners and pediatric specialists is the largest in Minnesota — and one of the largest in the country. With close to 200 neonatal beds, we care for more than 2,300 babies every year. The program has been a part of some of the most important discoveries in neonatal care – participating in numerous clinical studies over the last several decades, including therapies for neonatal respiratory illnesses and brain injuries.

Doctors and healthcare providers call for 24/7 patient referral, admission and neonatal transport assistance. Learn more.