Yesterday evening we had a great meeting with Deb Esenwein, the Perinatal Outreach & Childbirth Education Coordinator of Tampa General Hospital (TGH), along with Paula, a baby nurse that also teaches childbirth classes. They also toured us around the entire labor and delivery ward and NICU. Establishing relationships and building bridges with our local hospitals and care providers is important to us and makes our work easier. We have had good experiences at this hospital with birthing clients in the past and wanted to share these highlights:
1. Tampa General is a Baby-Friendly Hospital.
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program launched by the World Health Organization and the United Nation’s Children Fund to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding. It recognizes and awards facilities that successfully implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk substitutes.
Achieving this status is a comprehensive and detailed journey toward excellence in providing evidence-based maternity care. With 80% of women in the United States initiating breastfeeding, it is important for hospitals to support these families in their breastfeeding goals.
As part of this iniative TGH has a top-notch team of lactation staff including 7 IBCLCs (International Board Certified Lactation Counselors) and 56 nurses that are CLCs (Certified Lactation Counselors.) The remaining nurses that work with mothers and babies in the immediate postpartum period are also trained and knowledgeable on the subject of breastfeeding and are mentored and signed off by one of the 7 IBCLCs on this topic before engaging with families.
2. Tampa General Hospital has a fantastic childbirth education program and the educators provide honest, evidence-based information.
After speaking with the head of Childbirth Education and hearing her input and views on teaching, I feel confident families are getting very good information at these classes. This includes classes on the following subjects: labor & birth prep, breastfeeding, basic newborn care, car seat safety, becoming a big brother or big sister, becoming a grandparent, boot camp for new dads, infant and CPR safety, and infant massage.
They even have a 4 week Hypnobirthing class! Paula, who is a pediatric nurse that used hypnobirthing for the birth of her 2nd child and had a wonderful experience, teaches this class. Her training included a 500 hour course on hypnotherapy.
And I have to mention their Dogs & Storks class which teaches families practical and fun ways to prepare their dog before the new baby arrives. The SPCA found that this class helps prevent families from turning over their pets before even giving them a chance. All funds collected by TGH for this class go back to the SPCA to help more animals. How cool is that? (The dog lover in me is smiling.)
3. TGH welcomes doulas and encourages families to have labor support. In their labor and birth prep classes the childbirth educators discuss the benefits of hiring a doula and having good support. Doulas have also been welcomed into the operating rooms to support women during cesareans at TGH.
4. Every family that delivers at TGH will leave with a brand new car seat. Even if you already have one TGH will send you home with one of their new car seats, and an extra is always good to have on hand. Provided through a grant from AAA, these car seats will help many families in need.
5. The management of TGH is interested in customer feedback. They recently conducted a survey and interviewed families that had birthed at TGH to find out what they liked and disliked about their care. As a result of this changes were made to improve customer satisfaction.
6. Quiet Time. One of the points discovered in the feedback is that families were not provided time to sleep in the postpartum period due to frequent interruptions in their hospital rooms. TGH has now implemented quiet time in the postpartum area from 11 pm – 5am. During this time nurses will not be coming in to your room disrupting your sleep to check
on you. If you need assistance you can call a nurse and she will be there. But otherwise they will give you time to sleep and bond with your baby. This is so important especially after a long and hard labor when all you want to do is SLEEP!
7. TGH has a “Normal Birth Task Force” with the purpose of making birth a more natural and evidence-based experience at their hospital. They recognize there is a growing community of families that wish to have a positive, smooth experience with fewer medical interventions. One thing this task force has achieved is a new policy supporting intermittent electronic fetal monitoring for those women who are low-risk and fall within the appropriate parameters. Studies show that continuous electronic fetal monitoring does not improve birth outcomes. The task force collected the relevant research on this topic and got this new policy written, approved and implemented. This includes training experienced and new nurses on this policy. This is just one change they have worked to accomplish. There are many more.
8. TGH supports families that wish to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean.) Of course each care provider and OBGYN office has different policies, and each woman must take into account her health history and consult her care provider. However TGH is supportive of VBAC and many families in the Tampa area have found this to be the best hospital location to attempt a VBAC.
9. The labor and delivery and postpartum rooms are well stocked and set up. New furniture was recently purchased and the upgrade is noticeable since my last visit. There are couches in each room that turn into a bed and gliders specifically chosen for women in labor (to keep them moving) and to use when breastfeeding. They have two rooms with labor tubs, every room has a shower and hand held showerhead for hydrotherapy in labor, peanut balls & birth balls and info sheets providing pictures of labor positions including positions to use in bed with an epidural.
10. The NICU is designed for convenience with private rooms for each family and baby. There is a special waiting room that has space for parents or visitors to relax, use the internet, take a shower, and even a washer and dryer to do laundry. Parents who stay overnight in the NICU with their babies will appreciate these facilities.
If you are curious to learn more you can sign up for a free tour of the Women’s Center.
Call 1-800-822-3627 or visit www.tgh.org.