OBJECTIVES

Researchers in recent studies suggest that hospitalized febrile infants aged ≤60 days may be safely discharged if bacterial cultures are negative after 24–36 hours of incubation. We aimed to describe trends and variation in length of stay (LOS) for hospitalized febrile infants across children’s hospitals.

METHODS

We conducted a multicenter retrospective cohort study of febrile infants aged ≤60 days hospitalized from 2016 to 2019 at 39 hospitals in the Pediatric Health Information System database. We excluded infants with complex chronic conditions, bacterial infections, lower respiratory tract viral infections, and those who required ICU admission. The primary outcomes were trends in LOS overall and for individual hospitals, adjusted for patient demographics and clinical characteristics. We also evaluated the hospital-level association between LOS and 30-day readmissions.

RESULTS

We identified 11 868 eligible febrile infant encounters. The adjusted mean LOS for the study cohort decreased from 44.0 hours in 2016 to 41.9 hours in 2019 (P < .001). There was substantial variation in adjusted mean LOS across children’s hospitals, range 33.5–77.9 hours in 2016 and 30.4–100.0 hours in 2019. The change from 2016 to 2019 in adjusted mean LOS across individual hospitals also varied widely (−23.9 to +26.7 hours; median change −1.8 hours, interquartile range: −5.4 to 0.3). There was no association between hospital-level LOS and readmission rates (P = .70).

CONCLUSIONS

The LOS for hospitalized febrile infants decreased marginally between 2016 and 2019, although overall LOS and change in LOS varied substantially across children’s hospitals. Continued quality improvement efforts are needed to reduce LOS for hospitalized febrile infants.

You do not currently have access to this content.