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JAMA. 2000 Oct 25;284(16):2070-6.

Comprehensive follow-up care and life-threatening illnesses among high-risk infants: A randomized controlled trial.

Author information

1
University of Texas-Houston Medical School, 6431 Fannin St, MSB 3. 228, Houston, TX 77030-1503, USA.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Inner-city high-risk infants often receive limited and fragmented care, a problem that may increase serious illness.

OBJECTIVE:

To assess whether access to comprehensive care in a follow-up clinic is cost-effective in reducing life-threatening illnesses among high-risk, inner-city infants.

DESIGN:

Randomized controlled trial.

SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS:

A total of 887 very-low-birth-weight infants born in a Texas county hospital between January 1988 and March 1996 and followed up in a children's hospital clinic. One hundred four infants who became ineligible or died after randomization but before nursery discharge were excluded from the analysis.

INTERVENTIONS:

Infants were randomly assigned to receive routine follow-up care (well-baby care and care for chronic illnesses; n = 441) or comprehensive care (which included the components of routine care plus care for acute illnesses, with 24-hour access to a primary caregiver; n = 446).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Life-threatening illnesses (ie, causing death or hospital admission for pediatric intensive care) occurring between nursery discharge and age 1 year, assessed by blinded evaluators from inpatient charts and state Medicaid and vital statistics records; and hospital costs (estimated from department-specific cost-to-charge ratios).

RESULTS:

Comprehensive care resulted in a mean of 3.1 more clinic visits and 6.7 more telephone conversations with clinic staff (P<.001 for both). One-year outcomes were unknown for fewer comprehensive-care infants than routine-care infants (9 vs 28; P =.001). Identified deaths were similar (11 in comprehensive care vs 13 in routine care; P =.68). The comprehensive-care group had 48% fewer life-threatening illnesses (33 vs 63; P<.001), 57% fewer intensive care admissions (23 vs 53; P =.003), and 42% fewer intensive care days (254 vs 440; P =.003). Comprehensive care did not increase the mean estimated cost per infant for all care ($6265 with comprehensive care and $9913 with routine care).

CONCLUSION:

Comprehensive follow-up care by experienced caregivers can be highly effective in reducing life-threatening illness without increasing costs among high-risk inner-city infants. JAMA. 2000;284:2070-2076.

PMID:
11042755
DOI:
10.1001/jama.284.16.2070
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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