Discharge planning for the well newborn is often overlooked and is increasingly recognised as an important function of any neonatal unit. We analysed factors associated with presentation of a newborn (<6 weeks) to a local PED, GP practice and maternity hospital over a 3 week period.
Aim The aim was to gather data that could inform policy on discharge planning. This includes education for parents on the services available to them and on normal newborn care.
Methods Data was collected from an electronic database in the case of the PED and the local GP. It was collected prospectively manually in the maternity hospital.
Results In total 276 patients under 6 weeks of age presented to the three services over the three week period. Almost half of these visits were unscheduled (137/49%). Of those that were unscheduled, 29% were felt to represent benign neonatal variants whilst 20% were simple feeding problems. Discharge rates did not vary hugely between referrals made from GPs (56%), Nurses (57%) or the parents themselves (67%).
Discussion A proportion of reviews were felt to be inappropriate and could have been prevented with parental education. The similar rates of discharge between the three sources of referral also suggests that both GPs and nurses in the community are not comfortable with caring for newborns. There is room for cost saving and quality improvement of the service through education.