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N Engl J Med. 1976 Mar 25;294(13):702-5.

Perinatal care of low-risk mothers and infants. Early discharge with home care.


A family-centered perinatal-care program featuring collaboration by nurse practitioners, obstetricians, pediatricians, and paramedical personnel was developed to enhance family participation and achieve a shorter but safe hospital stay. Discharge from the hospital was permitted as early as 12 hours after delivery. A perinatal nurse practitioner made daily home visits. The program's safety, feasibility, and acceptability to patients was studied by comparison of 44 patients so treated (study group) with 44 receiving traditional care (controls). Twenty-one study families, but no controls, went home within 24 hours. The study and control groups had no significant differences or trends in numbers of types of morbidity during hospitalization or the six-week post-partum period. The expense of the program is approximately equaled by hospital costs saved through early discharge. The results indicate that early discharge with home-care follow-up observation as described is safe, economically feasible, and well accepted by patients.

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