A home phototherapy program for healthy, term newborns with hyperbilirubinemia (n = 62) was implemented, and results were compared prospectively with a group of term neonates who met enrollment criteria but were treated in-hospital (n = 55). The purpose of the study was to prospectively assess the feasibility, safety, and effectiveness of home phototherapy in treating uncomplicated neonatal jaundice. Infants were required to be greater than 24 hours old and to weigh at least 2,270 g (5 lb). Enrolling physicians were instructed to select infants whose clinical diagnoses and bilirubin levels allowed an adequate margin of error for a trial of home phototherapy and whose parents were capable of managing the added responsibilities of home therapy. At the time the phototherapy equipment was delivered and set up in their home, parents received extensive instruction, including how to record pertinent ongoing data on a home flow sheet. Serum bilirubin levels were measured at least daily. The preponderant diagnosis listed by enrolling physicians was "physiologic jaundice." No parent reported significant complications, and no infant required rehospitalization. Bilirubin levels decreased as rapidly in the home group as in the hospitalized control group, and duration of treatment averaged 2.8 days. About $18,000 was saved by treating these 62 infants at home compared with in-hospital costs in our community. We found home phototherapy to be a feasible, safe, and effective alternative to in-hospital phototherapy for otherwise healthy, jaundiced infants with motivated and capable parents.

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