Infant health and survival in the US compare unfavorably with other Western industrial democracies. Circumstances that contribute to favorable pregnancy outcomes in other countries include nearly complete participation of pregnant women in early prenatal care and linkage of care to extensive support benefits. The study reported here extends these earlier observations to preventive health services for children from infancy through adolescence and to the social benefit programs that support their families. This report looks at the condition of children in 10 European countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. All of these countries have better infant survival rates than the US, and they all share elements of pluralism in their systems of health care.
Decreases in the length of hospital stay for patients undergoing spinal surgery prompted this evaluation of the post-discharge needs of patients and the strategies that patients and their families employ to meet these needs. The nature and extent of post-discharge problems experienced by newly discharged patients was required as a baseline for the evaluation and improvement of discharge planning. Forty patients were interviewed following discharge, 20 patients within the first week of discharge, and 20 different patients between three and four weeks after discharge. Most patients reported that they had been well-informed about pain management and the majority of patients reported that pain was well-controlled. There was a subset of patients, however, who continued to report high levels of pain, even at one month after discharge. Less than one in three patients stated that they had received information about wound care and the information received was not consistent among health professionals. Given the limited time to prepare patients for discharge, this project highlights the need for written materials and for systematic follow-up after discharge.