To examine the child and parental outcomes at school age of a randomized controlled trial of a home-based early preventative care program for infants born very preterm and their caregivers.
At term-equivalent age, 120 infants born at a gestational age of <30 weeks were randomly allocated to intervention (n = 61) or standard care (n = 59) groups. The intervention included 9 home visits over the first year of life focusing on infant development, parental mental health, and the parent–infant relationship. At 8 years’ corrected age, children’s cognitive, behavioral, and motor functioning and parental mental health were assessed. Analysis was by intention to treat.
One hundred children, including 13 sets of twins, attended follow-up (85% follow-up of survivors). Children in the intervention group were less likely to have mathematics difficulties (odds ratio, 0.42; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.18 to 0.98; P = .045) than children in the standard care group, but there was no evidence of an effect on other developmental outcomes. Parents in the intervention group reported fewer symptoms of depression (mean difference, –2.7; 95% CI, –4.0 to –1.4; P < .001) and had reduced odds for mild to severe depression (odds ratio, 0.14; 95% CI, 0.03 to 0.68; P = .0152) than parents in the standard care group.
An early preventive care program for very preterm infants and their parents had minimal long-term effects on child neurodevelopmental outcomes at the 8-year follow-up, whereas primary caregivers in the intervention group reported less depression.