According to specialists in early child development at Karin Dom, over the last few years there is an improvement and wish for changing the care of premature babies in Bulgaria. It’s a fact the creation of “family rooms” at some hospitals in the country that are located close to the maternity ward. The bond between child and parent is being more and more encouraged by the time of birth, by giving the family the opportunity to spend more time with the newborn. On a worldwide scale it’s a usual practice for the parents to be with their children for as long as possible since the moment of birth. In the last 6-7 years, many countries successfully introduce and practice part time “kangaroo care” and more parent-child contact. A good practice in those countries is also the providing of suitable places for breastfeeding. There is also a monitoring of premature babies, born under the age of 32, given by specialists until at least 24 months, by proving psychological support for the parents and their communication with the doctors. In Bulgaria, there is more and more support for breastfeeding at maternity wards and young mothers are given the opportunity to be visited by nursing consultants and nurses.
Over the past 6 years, Karin Dom puts their efforts in full support of families whose children are at risk of developmental delays by starting the “Early Intervention” program. For the period 2011-2016, there have been 773 children using the services of the program. To present, the specialist of Karin Dom are working with 88 families with more than 20% of the children are included in a premature program. Early Intervention is moderately new service for us, that Karin Dom is realizing with the support of Varna Municipality and is available for all families from Varna who have children at risk of developmental delay. The service included home visitations by: physiotherapist, speech therapist, psychologist and social worker. The remarkable success of the program is that 37% of the children overcome the delays and have no need of continuing therapy. The specialist of the Karin Dom think it’s important for the parents to have the opportunity for a meeting with a psychologist at the maternity ward when a child at risk in born. Such opportunity already exists in our hospitals with which Karin Dom has built a strong partnership. This is helping the parents to accept quicker the condition of their child and search for the services and specialists they need.
In 2015, Karin Dom began adapting one of the most applied screenings for monitoring child development in the world – “Ages and Stages”. In order to prevent delays in the development of children at risk, it is important that every parent has access to such screening and early intervention services that the state can guarantee stable financing for.
Investments in early child development can reduce later social engagement for the state and increase the child’s chances for overcoming the challenges of their development.