Louisiana is making a renewed effort to help our smallest citizens — babies born between 34 and 36 weeks — after garnering an “F” from the March of Dimes for the state’s premature birth rates.
The effort is a collaboration between the state and the Institute for Health Care Improvement and will utilize a toolkit created by the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. The toolkit will be shared with all Medicaid-supported birthing hospitals in the state.
An estimated (and whopping) 70 percent of births in Louisiana are paid by Medicaid at about 60 birthing hospitals statewide, according to AWHONN officials, who say the state will be using the toolkit in these hospitals to assess and improve care for these vulnerable, late preterm infants during a two-year quality improvement initiative.
A number of babies born at late preterm age have health complications that require longer hospital stays from the get go and often re-hospitalization during the first few years of life. The aim of the two-year plan is to reduce known risks; tools include nurse ace process maps, spreadsheets, instruction guides, webinars and strategies for tracking the outcomes of these infants.
“Improving care for late preterm and early term infants throughout Louisiana supports AWHONN’s top priorities,” said AWHONN’s President Dr. Catherine Ivory. “The toolkit is designed to support hospital leaders’ efforts to advance nursing care in order to improve outcomes, facilitate the transition from hospital to home, and reduce the overall costs of care for late preterm and early term at-risk infants.” — Amanda Bedgood

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