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Home phototherapy for neonatal jaundice – what a great idea!

Many clinicians will have managed neonatal hyperbilirubinemia with hospitalisation and phototherapy. We know that this is particularly stressful for families. Pettersson M et al [Acta Paediatr 2022; 111:760–6. https://doi.org/10.1111/apa.16231] have evaluated whether in-home phototherapy for hyperbilirubinaemia could reduce the poorer parent-infant bonding and increased parental stress associated with neonatal hospital treatment. This is a simple multicentre randomised controlled trial, where they allocated families to either home phototherapy or standard hospital care. The primary outcome was parent-infant bonding measured on the Postpartum Bonding Questionnaire directly after therapy and 4 months later. Secondary outcomes were results on four other instruments measuring parental bonding, quality of life and mental health. They randomised 78 of 147 newborn infants to intervention and 69 to the control group. No significant differences were detected in length of stay, mean bilirubin, or weight gain. Parents in the intervention group had better scores on bonding both at discharge (p=0.034) and at 4 months (p=0.008; effect size r=0.2) and lower levels of stress at 4 months (p=0.024) than controls. No statistically significant outcomes were found for the secondary outcomes. What a great idea… in-home phototherapy improved bonding and reduced parental stress in …

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