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

Updated on June 21, 2022

Children’s Minnesota’s innovative Children’s Home Application based Monitoring Program (CHAMP) is now available at all three of the organization’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) locations. CHAMP 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.

CHAMP 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.

Dr. Cristina Miller, medical director of the Children’s Minnesota NICU Follow-up Clinic

Who can enroll in CHAMP?

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.

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

“The first question any parent asks when their child is admitted to the NICU is, ‘When can we go home?’ We’re hoping that this method helps families return to their normal daily lives faster,” said Dr. Cristina Miller, neonatologist at Children’s Minnesota, and the founder and director of CHAMP. “Even after the pandemic is over eventually, this could be a game changer.”

The CHAMP study

The CHAMP 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. The results of this study were presented by Dr. Miller at an international pediatric meeting in April 2022.

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 3,000 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.

Dina Elrashidy