Controversies of early discharge of infants from the well-newborn nursery

Curr Opin Pediatr. 1995 Oct;7(5):494-501. doi: 10.1097/00008480-199510000-00003.


A reduced hospital length of stay for normal newborns has become common, largely in an attempt to reduce hospital costs. Although evidence in the literature suggests that this is a safe practice, the overall quality of the studies is weak, and controversy exists regarding the advisability of this practice. A review of the rather modest literature and experience with shortened hospital stays lead us to conclude that early discharge of newborns is safe if it is but one component of a larger program designed to transfer portions of care traditionally provided in the hospital to pre- and postnatal care provided outside the hospital. The early discharge program developed at the Harvard Community Health Plan is presented as an example of such a program, with the hope that this model will provide a useful framework to those who are involved with shortened hospital maternity lengths of stay.

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Services
  • Female
  • Health Maintenance Organizations
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Length of Stay / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Male
  • Nurseries, Hospital*
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Postnatal Care