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St. David’s Medical Center Launches “Baby Matters” Nurse Navigator

By on January 4, 2012 in Health News Texas with 0 Comments

by Health News Texas Staff

St. David’s Medical Center has launched its new “Baby Matters” Nurse Navigator service, designed to help mothers of high-risk infants prepare for their baby’s stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

“Every baby matters, and every life that begins or is nurtured at St. David’s Medical Center is precious,” Rhonda Sageser, director of the Level III NICU at St. David’s Medical Center, said. “While we hope that every baby is born healthy, occasionally, infants need special medical attention, and this service helps families prepare for those circumstances.”

Photo: Ed Lallo/Newsroom Ink

Expectant mothers whose infants may require NICU care—due to medical conditions requiring surgery or prematurity—are referred to St. David’s Medical Center by their physicians before the baby is born. A Nurse Navigator then connects with the patient and her family to coordinate a visit to St. David’s Medical Center’s NICU, its maternity areas and a face-to-face consultation with a board-certified neonatologist regarding the care and expectations for their infant after birth.

In addition to familiarizing patients and their families with St. David’s Medical Center, the program aims to dispel fears, encourage informed decision making, and increase parents’ understanding of the NICU while guiding them through this unique and often difficult experience.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, delivery of a high-risk infant should be planned to occur in a facility capable of providing the anticipated level of NICU care. St. David’s Medical Center is the only hospital in the Austin area where a mother and her neonate requiring surgery can be cared for in the same facility.

“Since the program launched earlier this year, we have received more than 30 referrals from patients whose infants needed surgical care,” Sageser said. “So far, the feedback from patients and physicians has been overwhelmingly positive.”

St. David’s Medical Center features a 65-bed Level III NICU offers a wide range of services, including neonatal surgical care. The NICU features an in-house team of nurses and board-certified neonatologists, with board-certified pediatric surgeons, anesthesiologists, cardiologists, neurologists, nephrologists and other pediatric subspecialists available around the clock to handle the most complicated cases.

St. David’s Medical Center’s NICU also features a bilingual NICU parent education program called “Journeys.” The program is designed to welcome parents and provide them with a basic understanding of the NICU, as well as prepare them for a long-term stay and educate them about caring for their infants after hospital discharge. The program is administered by a team of NICU nurses.

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