This policy statement is the first formal statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics on the issue of hospital discharge of the high-risk neonate. It has been developed, to the extent possible, on the basis of published, scientifically derived information. Four categories of high risk are identified: 1) the preterm infant, 2) the infant who requires technological support, 3) the infant primarily at risk because of family issues, and 4) the infant whose irreversible condition will result in an early death. The unique home care issues for each are reviewed within a common framework. Recommendations are given for four areas of readiness for hospital discharge: infant, home care planning, family and home environment, and the community and health care system. The need for individualized planning and physician judgment is emphasized.

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