High Risk Newborns and their Families Stay in the Community
Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s (YRMC’s) Family Birthing Center
is now certified by the Arizona Perinatal Trust (APT) to care for high-risk newborns and their mothers.
“This is a milestone for our community,” said Diane Drexler, RN, YRMC’s Chief Nursing Officer. “It means many babies born early will no longer be transported to other Arizona communities. They will stay with their moms and receive high-level care right here.”
YRMC’s Family Birthing Center—licensed as a Level II Continuing Care Nursery by the Arizona Department of Health Services—is now delivering and caring for babies born at 34 weeks or greater. By January 2014, babies born 32 weeks or greater will be delivered and cared for at the YRMC Family Birthing Center.
Normal gestation is 38 to 40 weeks. According to the March of Dimes, approximately 12,000 babies a year are born prematurely in Arizona.
“Receiving and maintaining certification for the Family Birthing Center through the APT demonstrates that YRMC is committed to providing safe, efficient and effective patient care,” said Connie Buckner, RN, Director, The Family Birthing Center at YRMC.
APT certification brings together Level II Continuing Care Nurseries like YRMC’s to:
- maintain certain standards of care for mothers and babies;
- participate in statewide efforts to benchmark perinatal units; and
- work collaboratively with Arizona’s regionalized perinatal healthcare system.
The Family Birthing Center at YRMC East in Prescott Valley was designed and constructed from the beginning to care for premature infants. The Center, which opened May 26, 2010, followed Arizona Department of Health Services requirements that specify, for example, the amount of space between each baby in the nursery.
After its opening, YRMC’s Family Birthing Center nurses, obstetricians and pediatricians immediately began working together to achieve Level II Perinatal certification. The Center’s registered nurses were cross trained on all aspects of neonatal care, including, for example, how to provide supplemental oxygen, prevent infections, administer medications and manage feeding tubes.
Additionally, the nurses participated in a rigorous series of classroom courses conducted by YRMC’s neonatal nurse practitioner. The Center’s nurses and YRMC respiratory therapists also pursued on-site training in the neonatal unit of another hospital.
“The Family Birthing Center’s staff has been working toward this for a long time. Our first high-risk delivery since the new certification went very well,” Drexler said. “Our team was ecstatic. The newborn did great and so did the baby’s mother. Our entire hospital is proud of this achievement. It’s so important to families in our community.”