Out of Hospital Treatment for Babies who Require Phototherapy for Physiological Jaundice

North West CoastReproductive Health and Childbirth
Start Date: 1 Jul 2017 End Date: 1 Dec 2018


Jaundice is caused by high bilirubin levels in the blood. It is one of the most common reasons for readmission in the first 28 days of life (Rennie, 2005). Bilirubin is produced by the normal breakdown of red blood cells. Normally, it passes through the liver, which releases it into the intestines as bile. Jaundice happens when bilirubin builds up faster than a newborn's liver can break it down and pass it from the body. 60% of newborns develop jaundice in the first week of life (Nice, 2010). If left untreated it can result in brain injury or death.

Treatment is by phototherapy. The skin is exposed to a blue fibre optic or LED phototherapy light. The light changes the shape and structure of bilirubin molecules in such a way that they can be excreted in the urine and stoo

Aims and objectives

The project aims to provide phototherapy at home for well term babies <28 days of age, rather than in hospital, using a portable fibre optic mattress. These babies will be under the care of the neonatal outreach team.


Qualitative data from semi structured interviews will be collected by the intern, from the parents whose babies are receiving treatment at home and have consented to take part in the evaluation. Quantitative data will be collected by the project lead, comparing readmission rates. An index of multiple deprivation tool will be used to evaluate the uptake of the new service across socioeconomic groups.