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January 1989

Safety of Newborn Discharge in Less Than 36 Hours in an Indigent Population

Am J Dis Child. 1989;143(1):98-101. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1989.02150130108026

• The safety of a moderately early newborn discharge program and the ability to follow up within 48 hours of release was evaluated in an indigent population from our institution. A retrospective chart review of 2000 consecutive admissions to our normal newborn nursery was conducted to determine the following: (1) length of nursery stay; (2) reason for extension of nursery stay beyond 36 hours; (3) documentation of outpatient follow-up within 48 hours of discharge for infants released within 36 hours of birth; and (4) incidence of and reason for readmission to the hospital within one week of initial discharge. A total of 1091 infants (54.6%) were discharged within 24 to 36 hours of birth, with documentation of outpatient follow-up in 994 (91.1%). Twenty-five (2.3%) of the early discharges required readmission within seven days of initial discharge compared with a 0.89% incidence among infants hospitalized greater than 48 hours. Twenty-four of the 25 readmissions did have outpatient follow-up, and no serious complications occurred. The data demonstrate that moderately early neonatal discharge can be safely accomplished in an indigent population with the aid of a successful outpatient follow-up program.

(AJDC 1989;143:98-101)