Helping Tiny Patients A Mother-Baby Care Program Success Story
Not every birth makes the evening news, but when baby Adrianna was delivered via Cesarean section at American Family Children's Hospital last summer, it was a reason to celebrate on a number of levels. Not only was Adrianna the first birth at the hospital, her delivery demonstrated how a joint operating agreement among American Family Children's Hospital, UnityPoint Health- Meriter and UW Health is raising the bar when it comes to caring for mothers and their babies.
The collaboration, called Mother-Baby Care, leverages the strengths of all three organizations. It also streamlines the process for referring physicians to access UW Health specialists as well as the two NICUs – a Level 3 unit at UnityPoint Health-Meriter and a Level 4 unit at American Family Children's Hospital for babies with complex surgical and cardiac needs.
As a case in point, baby Adrianna was diagnosed in utero with a cardiac anomaly that would require installation of a pacemaker shortly after her birth. For that reason, the Mother-Baby Care team chose to prepare her for surgery right after birth by admitting her mother to the children's hospital prior to delivery.
"The goal of the Mother-Baby Care program is to create a positive patient experience and provide the best possible care for moms and babies," says Kathy Kostrivas, executive director of Mother-Baby Care Services. "Part of that involves a special review team that determines the safest location for each delivery based on maternal and newborn risk factors."
When American Family Children's Hospital surgical nurse Anne Skar, BSN, RN, CNOR, found out about the new Mother-Baby Care program, she felt it was where she needed to be, and she joined the team as quickly as she could. "It changes the level of communication, taking two facilities and building that partnership between the two," she says. "When you've been told that this is the best place for you or your child to be, families find comfort knowing that the resources are available immediately. With a high-risk baby or mom, for them to be in the right location is reassuring."
Igor Iruretagoyena, MD, UW Health obstetrician and gynecologist, or "Dr. Igor" to his patients and co-workers, is the maternal-fetal medicine specialist at UnityPoint Health-Meriter who oversaw the care for baby Adrianna and her mother.
"Before the Mother-Baby Care program, typically we would have referred babies like Adrianna to another care center," he says. "But now with the NICUs at both hospitals, the majority of these babies can be cared for right here in Madison."
"This program brings the best of neonatal, pediatric and adult care together," he says. "We have pretty much everything mothers and their babies would need."
Kostrivas couldn't agree more. "Best practices are shared across facilities; each hospital is learning a lot from the other, "That team collaboration is the cultural change we were looking for and that is what makes the Mother-Baby Care program so strong."