Clinical Guidelines (Nursing)

Preterm infant management guideline package

  • Note: This guideline is currently under review.  


    Infants who are born before 37 weeks of completed gestation are at risk of developing a wide range of illnesses, such as intraventricular haemorrhage, bronchopulmonary dysplasia and retinopathy of prematurity, due to the immaturity of many of their physiological systems and processes.  This in turn places them at increased risk of poor physical and neurodevelopmental health outcomes, such as blindness, deafness and cerebral palsy.  Delivery of care to these vulnerable infants should be specifically targeted to minimize these risks and optimise outcomes for these children.


    This guideline package has been complied to support medical, nursing and allied health staff in their provision of high quality, evidence-based care to our preterm infant cohort to ensure they achieve the best health outcomes possible.

    Definition of terms 

    Preterm Infant: Any baby born before 37 weeks of completed gestation

    Late Preterm: An infant born between 32 and 36+6 weeks of completed gestation

    Very Preterm: An infant born between 28 and 31+6 weeks of completed gestation

    Extremely Preterm: An infant born before 28 weeks of completed gestation

    The Preterm Infant Management Guideline Package is comprised of multiple separate guidelines covering a variety of important aspects of preterm infant care.  The individual guidelines have been created in accordance with the Royal Children’s Hospital Clinical Practice Guideline template.  All relevant and required headings (e.g. inclusion criteria, assessment, management, links, references, etc.) are included in each individual guideline as per the template.

    The list of individual guidelines is as follows:

    Please remember to read the disclaimer

    The development of this nursing guideline was coordinated by ara Doyle, Associate Nurse Unit Manager,Butterfly Ward and Sharlene Patti,Clinical Nurse Educator, Butterfly Ward, and approved by the Nursing Clinical Effectiveness Committee. Updated September 2016.