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!