Homecare and Healthcare Utilization Errors Post-Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Discharge

Adv Neonatal Care. 2017 Aug;17(4):258-264. doi: 10.1097/ANC.0000000000000390.


Background: High-risk infants transitioning from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to home represent a vulnerable population, given their complex care requirements. Little is known about errors during this period.

Purpose: Identify and describe homecare and healthcare utilization errors in high-risk infants following NICU discharge.

Methods: This was a prospective observational cohort study of homecare (feeding, medication, and equipment) and healthcare utilization (appointment) errors in infants discharged from a regional NICU between 2011 and 2015. Chi-square test and Wilcoxon rank-sum test were used to compare infant and maternal demographics between infants with and without errors.

Results: A total of 363 errors were identified in 241 infants during 635 home visits. The median number of visits was 2. No significance was found between infant and maternal demographics in those with or without errors.

Implications of practice: High-risk infants have complex care needs and can benefit from regular follow-up services. Home visits provide an opportunity to identify, intervene, and resolve homecare and healthcare utilization errors.

Implications of research: Further research is needed to evaluate the prevalence and cause of homecare errors in high-risk infants and how healthcare resources and infant health outcomes are affected by those errors. Preventive measures and mitigating interventions that best address homecare errors require further development and subsequent description.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Home Care Services, Hospital-Based / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Intensive Care, Neonatal / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Medical Errors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Discharge / statistics & numerical data
  • Postnatal Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prospective Studies