The Brooks Memorial Hospital Obstetrics Depart-ment participated in a national campaign aimed at improving quality in health care and healthier outcomes for newborns and moms. As a result of a survey completed in the program, the Obstetrics De-partment was awarded a $4,500 stipend used toward the purchase of phototherapy equipment, which is used to lower bilirubin levels in infants.
Roselle Atzrott, RN, BSN, CCE, CLC, Obstet-rics/Gynecology Depart-ment Nurse Manager at Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk, said the OB Department participated in the New York State Partnership for Patients/-New York State Perinatal Quality Collaborative Ob-stetrical Improvement Pro-ject. The hospital submitted data to state officials over a six month period on newborns delivered prior to full-term, or 39 weeks.
The purpose of the study, in collaboration with other health care organizations throughout the state, is to reduce the number of early elective deliveries by five percent or more and ensure better outcomes for newborns.
Heather Gustafson, RN, checks the adjustments near the isolette in the Brooks Memorial Hospital nursery. Hospital officials recently purchased new phototherapy equipment with funds received by participating in a state quality survey process. Pictured on top of the isolette, the special blue light is used to lower bilirubin levels in infants to help manage jaundice.
The study details information on cases where physicians induced labor in women prior to delivering full-term babies and in cases where pre-term cesarean sections were performed in women between 36 and 38 weeks. The project "has already achieved significant success, reducing scheduled cesarean sections and inductions" in several birthing centers throughout New York state, according to state program officials. OB departments are provided with staff support and communication strategies for enhancing the patient experience and educating birthing moms about the risks and benefits of full gestation periods.
Why is full-term delivery so important to a newborn's overall health? "Full lung development and healthier outcomes are achieved the longer babies are in the womb," Atzrott noted. Health officials agree that an infant's morbidity, or chance of complications, and mortality risk, increase before 39 weeks gestation. Full-term babies are also less likely to have hearing, vision, feeding or birth-weight problems, officials say.
The project is part of the New York State Partner-ship for Patients, a quality initiative to advance the goals of better health, better care and lower costs. Brooks Memorial Hos-pital's participation is part of the Obstetrical Safety Initiative.
Atzrott said she plans to continue providing data for future analysis. The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services had made early elective deliveries reduction a significant priority and provided its state partners with funds for the survey project.
By providing statistics from the local hospital and participating in the study, Atzrott said she believes physicians and patients will be positively impacted by the results. "We want to make a difference," she said.
The hospital is an affiliate of Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York.