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Public Health Nurs. 2005 Jul-Aug;22(4):332-8.

Informing parents about newborn screening.

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Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit, Division of General Pediatrics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109-0456, USA.



To evaluate current rules and regulations for educating parents about newborn screening.


Cross-sectional survey.


Newborn screening program coordinators in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.


Answers to a standardized semi-structured telephone survey in January 2004.


Fifty programs provide standardized information about screening, and 32 of these have information available in multiple languages. Most programs (n=36) believe that parents should be informed about newborn screening as a part of prenatal care; however, none has rules or regulations requiring this. Five require documented informed consent; only one provides the consent form in a language other than English. Hospitals and birthing centers are required by many programs to educate families, including providing information (n=12), obtaining informed consent (n=5), informing parents of the right to refuse screening (n=13), and documenting refusal on institutionally developed forms (n=9). We found considerable variation in policy language across the newborn screening programs.


The complexity of current newborn screening programs and the likelihood of expansion in the number of conditions on newborn screening panels present a unique opportunity and challenge for public health nurses to ensure that these programs are effective and that care is integrated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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