Nigerian Journal of Paediatrics

Log in or Register to get access to full text downloads.

Remember me or Register

Premature discharge of children from hospital admission at Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital Zaria: A 3-year review

LW Umar, S Musa, A Musa, GO Adeoye


Introduction: Leaving hospital care prematurely could threaten the healthy survival of and expose children to a risk of harmful alternatives. It is also a concern and a challenge to healthcare providers and the health system. A better understanding of its characteristic could help mitigate the impact on children.
Objective: To determine the prevalence, types of, and reasons for premature hospital discharge amongst children.
Methods: We carried out a threeyear retrospective review of case notes of children who were taken away from hospital admission by their parents/caregivers before they were due for discharge.  Socio-demographic, clinical anddischarge information were collected and data was entered into Microsoft® Excel® for Mac 2011 (Version 14.1.0), cleaned and analysed. Results were presented as percentages, statistical means and standard deviations, tables and charts.
Results: There were 56 cases of premature discharge out of 2858 admissions, giving a prevalence of 2.0%. Under-five children constituted 65.4%, with a male: female ratio of 2.3:1. Thirty-one (55.3%) children were absconded with while 25 (44.7%) were taken away by caregivers against medical advice. The commonest diagnoses were protein-energy malnutrition and pneumonia and majority were from poor socio-economic family background. The commonest reasons for discharge AMA were unaffordable costs and perception of improvement of child’s medical condition.
Conclusion: Socio-economic factors were significant determinants of utilization of in-patient hospital services for the children studied. There is a need for provision of affordable health care as well as efficient discharge policy to protect children from potential risks associated with premature hospital discharge.

Keywords: Children; admission; premature discharge; discharge against medical advice; absconding; elopement
AJOL African Journals Online