Having a premature baby in Lamar just got safer, thanks to a grant from Newborn Hope, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides resources for premature babies and their families in Colorado. Staff at Prowers Medical Center banded together to submit a grant request for specialized equipment to better serve premature babies and newborns.
Two pieces of equipment were requested, and purchased. The first is a syringe pump, a special IV pump that allows nurses to give low dose medications at low pressure, which babies need. The second is a CPAP machine, or continuous positive airway pressure machine, to help babies who are having difficulty breathing.
“The CPAP machine delivers heated humidity, which is less traumatic on a newborn’s system than regular, cool air. We use it for any baby that shows signs of respiratory distress or difficulty breathing on their own,” said Jeanna Warman, Respiratory Therapist, Cardiopulmonary Care Supervisor.
When a premature baby is born, labor and delivery teams up with respiratory therapy to ensure the baby gets the help it needs to thrive. In 2016, Prowers Medical Center delivered 178 babies.
Babies born after 36 weeks are delivered at the hospital, unless they are deemed high risk. Only 5% of moms and babies need to be transferred out due to complications. When transferring out, most are transported by flight, except in severe weather. The flight is less than an hour, and preparation takes between 15 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the concern.
“Babies come at all times, and we are well equipped to stabilize premature babies and prepare them for transport. Underdeveloped lungs are a fairly common issue with premature babies, so having the CPAP machine allows us to provide better, safer care,” said Julie Hobden, RN, New Beginnings Birth Center Manager for Prowers Medical Center.
Nurses and respiratory therapists maintain certifications in Neonatal Resuscitation (NRP), Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), and STABLE, a method to stabilize and prepare sick newborns for transport. The nurses also hold a certification in Advanced Fetal Heart Monitoring. Most hold certificates in either Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) or Trauma Nurse Core Course (TNCC).
“Our nurses are trained above and beyond most similar hospitals. Our patients are in very good hands,” Hobden added.
Newborn Hope, Inc. recognized the need at New Beginnings Birth Center for new equipment, and saw that it would have a positive impact on local families, helping the hospital better serve premature babies. Since its founding in 1973, Newborn Hope has raised over 5 million dollars for causes related to prematurity.
“I would like to thank Newborn Hope for giving us this grant so parents in our community can feel reassured that we have what it takes to provide excellent care. We give a special shout out to Megan Thrall, one of our labor and delivery nurses, for working so hard on the grant,” Hobden said.
“Having this new equipment is good news for expectant parents in our community. We are a small hospital, but we have high-caliber providers and modern technology. Babies are getting cared for with nearly the same equipment as they would at a higher-level facility,” Warman concluded.
For more information on the birth center, or to sign up for a tour, call 336-6759 or simply stop by the hospital.