As insurance companies become more aggressive regarding restricting care in the name of profit, patients will have to be more proactive in order to avoid unnecessary and preventable complications. You’ve just had a baby 24 hours ago and the hospital wants to send you home. Is your baby ready to leave the hospital? Here is your checklist of things that should occur prior to the discharge of your baby:
- Their vital signs and physical exam should be normal for at least 12 hours prior to discharge
- They should breathe less than 60 breaths in a minute and the heart rate should be between 100 to 160 beats per minute
- Their temperature should be between 97 to 99°F in an open crib
- They should have urinated and passed one stool spontaneously
- It can suckle, swallow and feed while breathing
- There is no evidence of jaundice
- You have a car safety seat appropriate for the baby’s age
- You’ve been given emergency instructions in the event of a complication and you understand them
- Both you and your baby’s blood type; Hepatitis and HIV status are known
- The baby has passed the hearing screening test
It is important for all mothers to make certain these things have been done on behalf of their newborn prior to being sent home. If they haven’t, you have every right to decline the discharge until it is determined that your baby is okay. Although our present healthcare system is on automatic pilot, someone should be alert at the wheel.
Until next time, remember . . . a healthy pregnancy doesn’t just happen. It takes a smart mother who knows what to do.