A Different Kind of Work-Out

At Memorial we have a Performance Excellence division to help departments streamline processes and become more efficient. In May, I approached our Six Sigma Black Belt to see how her expertise could help with our Baby-Friendly efforts. How fitting that in the midst of Olympic festivities, we had a Work-Out day.  This Work-Out didn’t get us any closer to becoming Olympic champions, but we did get closer to our goal of sending families home with more confidence by supporting them while they room together with their babies. This is in place of traditional nursery care where babies are cared for by nurses in the nursery and mothers rest in their own rooms.

Here’s how our Work-Out day happened. First we gathered key people: Mother-Baby Unit (postpartum) charge nurses, the directors of Mother-Baby and the Childbirth Unit (labor and delivery), a nurse who worked at a Baby-Friendly hospital in the past, a lactation consultant and me. We loaded everyone up with legal stimulants (sugar and caffeine) and set out for a day of Post-it note driven discussion.

The process of rooming-in really begins prenatally. Ideally, doctors and midwives will prepare families during the pregnancy for what to expect in the hospital. However, resources are already being developed to help facilitate this. So our Work-Out day process began with admission of the laboring mother to the Childbirth Unit (CBU). Skin-to-skin holding was recognized as an important element of teaching that families belong together.  Transition from CBU to the Mother-Baby Unit was next, and keeping babies with their mothers through the night was also a large part of the discussion.

That is our general flow, but in the Work-Out day we used what seemed like hundreds of Post-it notes to detail the process from beginning to end and to identify problem areas.  The problem areas were discussed and decisions were made on how to fix these problems.  Post-it notes representing problems were moved from our large flow sheet to a separate sheet where individuals or groups were assigned to implement the agreed upon fix and were given a deadline for completion.

(Reading this over makes it sound so easy, but don’t be deceived! By mid-afternoon our headaches were sending us running for pharmacologic relief.)

Twelve tasks were created and assigned based on the identified problems. These include ordering more equipment such as baby scales and thermometers, creating rooming-in education for nurses and patients in the CBU and developing education to teach families normal newborn sleep habits.

I’ll share everything we create right here! I can’t wait!

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About blogtobabyfriendly

blogtobabyfriendly is written by Amy Murray, a Childbirth Unit nurse with a touch of earth muffin crunch. A childbirth educator and IBCLC, she's been a breastfeeding advocate all her adult life, believing that if our bodies make milk, it just makes good sense to feed it to our babies. blogtobabyfriendly is her hospital's journey to Baby-Friendly designation. Click to get email updates on new blog posts. Our desire is to learn, share, and learn more.
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8 Responses to A Different Kind of Work-Out

  1. Jess says:

    I’m so excited to watch this process unfold as I was a women who wanted to have a natural birth but ended up having a section. I did keep our daughter with us in our room the whole time. I did notice one issue with the baby beds they seemed to be too high. Every time my daughter needed to nurse which seemed to be like every 2 min LOL I had to wake my husband up to get her since I was not able to get out of bed yet. If the baby bed could come down more to the mothers level that would make it a lot easier for the Mother to get the baby nurse and back to sleep with out “needing” anyone to help. This is just a thought I had while I was a pt. 🙂

  2. Gemma Regan says:

    This is great! One of our clinic nurses just gave birth a few days ago – and she was happy and surprised to have her baby’s first bath in the room with her! Keep up the good work!

  3. Dana says:

    I delivered my first two babies at Memorial, and am excited to deliver number three there as well. I had a wonderful experience and felt well educated upon leaving both times.

    I have always had the baby room in with me, and it makes me so happy that this is being promoted. I found it prepped me for what to expect when I returned home. I love seeing all of the positive changes happening at Memorial! Keep up the good work! I will be seeing you soon!!!

  4. Sarah McK says:

    Regarding the baby beds, have you contacted Jim McKenna at Notre Dame? James.J.McKenna.25@nd.edu He helped design the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper (or maybe refine it) and he might have some good ideas for you all.

  5. Molly McMillion says:

    I SO appreciate reading along with your progress as we also embark on the Baby Friendly journey! I noticed you mentioned that ‘resources are being developed for this’ (prenatal information?) could you point me at what you are referring to here because our docs are a ways away from doing this!
    Thanks!!

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