Objective: To evaluate a program that provides in-home care to women with pregnancies threatened by preterm delivery (including preterm labor, preterm premature rupture of membranes, and multiple gestation) and women with pregnancy-related hypertension.
Methods: Data from hospital discharge summaries were used to compare birth outcomes and cost of care for women in the in-home program and a cohort of women who received in-hospital antenatal care before the new program. Birth outcomes included data for mothers and infants. The sample included 437 women with threatened preterm delivery (n = 228 in-home, n = 209 in-hospital) and 308 with hypertension (n = 155 in-home, n = 153 in-hospital). The cost per woman included all costs of services for mothers and infants.
Results: Women at risk of preterm delivery who received in-home care were half as likely to have their infants in the neonatal intensive care unit more than 48 hours (odds ratio 0.53, 95% confidence interval 0.36, 0.78). On average, their infants weighed more (2732 +/- 716 g versus 2330 +/- 749 g, P <.001) and were 2 weeks older at birth (36.1 +/- 3.1 weeks versus 34.0 +/- 4.0 weeks, P <.001). There was a wide range in the total cost per woman and no significant difference between cohorts. For women with hypertension, there were no significant differences between in-home and in-hospital cohorts in birth outcomes or costs of care per woman.
Conclusion: The program with current admission criteria, staffing, and guidelines for antenatal hospital admission provides safe care to women at similar cost to that of hospitalization.