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Longer postpartum hospitalization options – who stays, who leaves, what changes?

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Author(s): Watt Susan | Sword Wendy | Krueger Paul

Journal: BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
ISSN 1471-2393

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 13;
Date: 2005;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background This paper examines the practice implications of a policy initiative, namely, offering women in Ontario Canada up to a 60-hour postpartum in-hospital stay following an uncomplicated vaginal delivery. This change was initiated out of concern for the effects of 'early' discharge on the health of mothers and their infants. We examined who was offered and who accepted extended stays, to determine what factors were associated with the offer and acceptance of this option, and the impact that these decisions had on post-discharge health status and service utilization of mothers and infants. Methods The data reported here came from two related studies of health outcomes and service utilization of mothers and infants. Data were collected from newly delivered mothers who had uncomplicated vaginal deliveries. Questionnaires prior to discharge and structured telephone interviews at 4-weeks post discharge were used to collect data before and after policy implementation. Qualitative data were collected using focus groups with hospital and community-based health care managers and providers at each site. For both studies, samples were drawn from the same five purposefully selected hospitals. Further analysis compared postpartum health outcomes and post discharge service utilization of women and infants before and after the practice change. Results Average length of stay (LOS) increased marginally. There was a significant reduction in stays of
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