Background The AAP recommends that hospitals provide discharge information for parents that includes an explanation of monitoring for jaundice. We hypothesized that parental education about jaundice differed from communication about simple tasks such as scheduling of follow-up appointments. The aim of this study was to evaluate parents' recall of receiving written and oral information regarding hyperbilirubinemia.
Methods The medical records of infants admitted for hyperbilirubinemia to a county hospital from June 2005 to June 2006 were reviewed retrospectively. Hyperbilirubinemia risk factors, the parent's perception of hyperbilirubinemia education received prior to discharge from the hospital and at the first clinical visit, and follow-up visits scheduled by the birth hospital were analyzed.
Results Thirty-two infants were admitted into the hospital for phototherapy during the study period. Only 32% (8/25 with 7 no responses) of the parents recall receiving hyperbilirubinemia education while at the birth hospital compared with 62% (16/26 with 6 no responses) who reported receiving such an education when surveyed at the primary care provider's office. In contrast, follow-up clinic appointments were made by the birth hospital 96% of the time (26/27 with 5 no responses).
Conclusions The results show that parents do not recall receiving hyperbilirubinemia education. We speculate that inadequate teaching by physicians and nurses, parents not understanding the education that they receive, parents not reading the jaundice handouts given to them in their discharge packets, and a language barrier that impedes the parent's understanding are potential reasons for the perceived lack of education. Hospitals successfully made follow-up visits indicating that some forms of communication in the discharge process were effective. More research is needed to determine the reason(s) for the parent's perception of a lack of hyperbilirubinemia teaching.
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