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Maternal & Infant: Embrace cost-effective option

Maternal & Infant: Embrace cost-effective option

ST FonvilleQ. What is at-home phototherapy treatment and why is it important?

A. At-home phototherapy treatment is a way of reducing the bilirubin levels of infants with jaundice using blanket phototherapy in the comfort of your own home, as opposed to hospital treatment. 

Phototherapy has been a popular, non-invasive way to treat neonatal jaundice for more than 30 years. The treatment has been typically done in a hospital setting by placing the baby under stationary lights, but advances in technology have led to the development of portable phototherapy devices. 

At-home treatment involves a phototherapy blanket. This is when a light pad is wrapped around the baby transmitting LED light to help break down bilirubin levels in the baby's blood. The baby’s skin is exposed to blue light waves, which safely reduces the appearance of yellowing in the skin and eyes. 

At-home phototherapy is an important advancement in treating jaundice, because it allows for parent/infant bonding and promotes attachment during a crucial time. A phototherapy blanket allows parents to continue to feed, cuddle and hold the baby during treatment. This bonding can produce a range of benefits including:

Emotional attachment that helps prevent diseases in babies by boosting immunity

Regulation of the mother’s postpartum hormones 

Stimulation of healthy breastfeeding 

Promotion of regular infant sleeping patterns

At-home blanket phototherapy is a more cost-effective option by reducing the amount of time mom and baby spend in the hospital and is covered by most insurance policies, as well as Medicaid. Additionally, phototherapy blankets can be much more energy efficient than other treatments.

Brandon Fonville is director of Motif Medical. Reach him at [email protected] or 844-272-8390.

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