Hospital discharge of the high-risk neonate

Pediatrics. 2008 Nov;122(5):1119-26. doi: 10.1542/peds.2008-2174.


This policy statement updates the guidelines on discharge of the high-risk neonate first published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1998. As with the earlier document, this statement is based, insofar as possible, on published, scientifically derived information. This updated statement incorporates new knowledge about risks and medical care of the high-risk neonate, the timing of discharge, and planning for care after discharge. It also refers to other American Academy of Pediatrics publications that are relevant to these issues. This statement draws on the previous classification of high-risk infants into 4 categories: (1) the preterm infant; (2) the infant with special health care needs or dependence on technology; (3) the infant at risk because of family issues; and (4) the infant with anticipated early death. The issues of deciding when discharge is appropriate, defining the specific needs for follow-up care, and the process of detailed discharge planning are addressed as they apply in general to all 4 categories; in addition, special attention is directed to the particular issues presented by the 4 individual categories. Recommendations are given to aid in deciding when discharge is appropriate and to ensure that all necessary care will be available and well coordinated after discharge. The need for individualized planning and physician judgment is emphasized.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Caregivers
  • Home Care Services*
  • Home Nursing
  • Hospice Care
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / therapy
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Length of Stay
  • Nutritional Support
  • Patient Care Planning
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Supine Position