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OBJECTIVE: To implement parent-oriented discharge planning (Train-to-Home) for preterm infants in neonatal care. DESIGN: Before and after study, investigating the effects of the intervention during two 11-month periods before and after implementation. SETTING: Four local neonatal units (LNUs) in South West England. PARTICIPANTS: Infants without major anomalies born at 27-33 weeks' gestation admitted to participating units, and their parents. TRAIN-TO-HOME INTERVENTION: A family-centred discharge package to increase parents' involvement and understanding of their baby's needs, comprising a train graphic and supporting care pathways to facilitate parents' understanding of their baby's progress and physiological maturation, combined with improved estimation of the likely discharge date. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Perceived Maternal Parenting Self-Efficacy (PMP S-E) scores, infant length of stay (LOS) and healthcare utilisation for 8 weeks following discharge. RESULTS: Parents reported that the Train-to-Home improved understanding of their baby's progress and their preparedness for discharge. Despite a lack of change in PMP S-E scores with the intervention, the number of post-discharge visits to emergency departments (EDs) fell from 31 to 20 (p<0.05), with a significant reduction in associated healthcare costs (£3400 to £2200; p<0.05) after discharge. In both study phases, over 50% of infants went home more than 3 weeks before their estimated date of delivery (EDD), though no reduction in LOS occurred. CONCLUSIONS: Despite the lack of measurable effect on the parental self-efficacy scores, the reduction in ED attendances and associated costs supports the potential value of this approach.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open

Publication Date





Neonatal care, discharge planning, family-centred, self-efficacy, Adult, Ambulatory Care Facilities, England, Female, Gestational Age, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Infant, Premature, Intensive Care Units, Neonatal, Length of Stay, Male, Parents, Patient Discharge