The Maternity Department at University Hospital Galway was recently honoured for their inspiring care of mothers and babies at the Irish Healthcare Centre Awards.
The Maternity Department won the Midwifery Led Project Award for their project on preventing hypothermia in newborn babies admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
This inspiring initiative has already resulted in a drop in the number of babies admitted to the Neonatal ICU and an increase in breastfeeding rates by 9 percent for new mothers at UHG.
Jean James, Registered Advanced Nurse Practitioner and project lead said, “ Newborn babies are not born cold and they cannot shiver to regulate their body temperature themselves.”
“So we must intervene to make sure that their temperature does not fall below 36.5°c which is considered mild hypothermia in babies.”
This is a worldwide issue for hospitals to deal with, and the World Health Organisation has developed 10 steps in the Warm Chain with actions for hospitals and midwives to address it.
UHG’s Maternity Department has already made improvement in 7 of those steps, with the result that there have been no cases of neonatal hypothermia from the gynaecology theatre this year.
“The biggest change involved moving from wrapping newborn babies in towels, which was the usual practice, to wrapping the babies in blankets and pre-warming the clothes and blankets for all babies.”
“Our slogan is ‘I’m just Born, Keep me Warm’,” Nurse James said.
Ms Chris Kane, General Manager of Galway University Hospitals added, “We are exceptionally proud of the team in the Maternity Department for their ongoing work to improve outcomes for our patients, in particular the babies who spend time in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.”
The 2019 Irish Healthcare Centre Awards took place at the Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin recently, with awards given to hospitals, private clinics, and healthcare initiatives in 25 categories.