Women and Babies Hospital (WBH) Baby Friendly Hospital Task Force accepts the CEO Award on behalf of the WBH nursing and medical team. This award is given by Lancaster General Health President and CEO Tom Beeman (also pictured)
Please tell me a bit about your role at Women & Babies and your involvement with the Baby Friendly Initiative.
I am the Clinical Nurse Specialist at Women & Babies Hospital (WBH) and my role is focused on implementing evidence-based practices to promote optimal patient outcomes. I am relatively new to the group (started working at WBH in 2013). The leadership team here had been working towards Baby Friendly for several years prior to my joining them. I was thrilled to be a part of assisting to implement the practices that promote breastfeeding since I am also an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
What have been the biggest hurdles to making this a success?
The biggest hurdles to any significant change are shifting the culture to enable staff to embrace better ways of doing things and new priorities.
What is the most rewarding part of this for you?
For me it’s several things. I love hearing the stories of families who rave about all the great things that they have experienced here during their stay. I am thrilled when nurses report their high level of job satisfaction in caring for patients and families in this model of care. I also feel rewarded when we see the statistics that reflect that the practice changes are making a huge positive impact on our breastfeeding exclusivity rates. Also, I am very proud that Women and Babies was the first Baby Friendly designated hospital in Pennsylvania!
What is the general response about this from the women you serve?
Our patients have been thrilled with the changes and we have received numerous highly positive comments from families about their care! This is especially noted by patients who delivered with us prior to the designation and then again afterwards. They all say that the care was very good before and now it is exceptional.
Who oversees the continuation of this initiative? How are you held accountable?
We have a Baby Friendly Task Force that is comprised of nursing leaders (including our lactation supervisor), myself, our clinical educator, and physician champion. We continue to meet to assess quality and compliance with Baby Friendly practices. In addition we have a large interdisciplinary Care Management team that includes both inpatient and outpatient and community representatives that meets quarterly to discuss practices and review progress.
We are held accountable by the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative as we are required to complete audits that they supply to us on a minimum of an annual basis.
Please talk about the impact this initiative has had in its first year of implementation.
One of the many things we look at is how many of the infants who are born to mothers choosing to breastfeed receive only breast milk during their hospital stay. Our first years have been years of learning and implementing best practices. As a result, we now have a 93 percent success rate of exclusive breastfeeding among nursing mothers. These moms are heading home relaxed and comfortable with breastfeeding. This is up from a 68 percent exclusive breastfeeding success rate in 2013 (which is very common among hospitals in the US), and 90 percent in 2014.
We also know that our practice of having babies and moms experience uninterrupted skin to skin for at least the first hour after delivery (including those who have a cesarean birth) as well as our rooming in rates have dramatically improved as well.
How does this positively impact other hospitals?
I think that this impacts other hospitals because it raises the bar. It inspires others to do the work needed to attain the designation. This all benefits the overall health of the community as more healthcare providers promote and provide meaningful support to breastfeeding families. We have served as a mentor and hosted several hospitals who requested to visit us and learn more about how we were successful in implementing all the steps required to be Baby Friendly.
What are the goals for year two of being baby friendly?
Our goals are to monitor our quality measures and to determine if there are any other refinements needed to continue to improve our breastfeeding strategies and outcomes. We continue to educate our staff and inspire them to be creative in how to surpass their goals in implementing Baby Friendly practices.