Screening to improve Health In very Preterm infantS in Europe

The SHIPS Study investigates the needs of children aged 5-6 years who were born very prematurely.

Each year, around 13,000 babies are born very prematurely (before 32 weeks of gestation) in England alone. Being born prematurely can have long lasting effects on a baby’s health and development and some may need long term healthcare or special educational support throughout childhood. For this reason, many healthcare systems throughout Europe offer follow-up programmes for babies born very prematurely. The aim of these follow-up programmes is to monitor children’s development over the first few years of life to spot any difficulties as they arise so that families can be offered appropriate support at the earliest opportunity.

The SHIPS study aims to investigate whether different follow-up programmes have an impact on very premature infants’ health, development and quality of life when they are 5 to 6 years of age, as well as on the care children need and the costs of running these programmes. To do this we are asking parents across 11 different countries in Europe to tell us about their child’s health and development now they are 5 to 6 years of age and about their experiences of the follow-up care their very premature baby received. We will use the information gained to develop guidelines that doctors, health and education professionals can follow to enable them to provide the best long term support for very premature babies and their families.

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The European flag This project has received funding from the European Union’s horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the grant agreement number 633724.

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