Patterns of Medical Services Utilization by Infants Discharged From a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit


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Abstract

A decreasing neonatal mortality rate has increased the number of infants who survive their stay in a neonatal intensive care unit only to need continued medical care. Medical services utilization by families with high-risk infants has been widely studied, but research is sparse on high-risk infants who do not receive follow-up care through medical specialists' services or speciality clinics. After dividing medical services utilization into four patterns, ranging from use of only primary care to use of three kinds of medical services, the authors analyzed a set of predictors of utilization. The factors most likely to affect pattern of utilization significantly are related to health need and illness level. The infants with more serious medical conditions diagnosed at birth were found to use the most follow-up services. No effects of location of residence or social class were found, which suggests that families had no significant problems of access to medical care services for their infants in the defined region of the study.

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