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NICUs: What is a small baby unit?

Small baby units take the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) concept to a new level by specializing in the care of the smallest babies – known as micro-preemies – born at fewer than 27 weeks gestation and/or weighing less than 1,000 grams (2.2 pounds).  The design of the units, which are part of a larger NICU, includes providing a dark, quiet environment.  Parents are encouraged to participate in skin-to-skin care (SSC) techniques that fosters bonding, such as Kangaroo Mother Care.  Caregivers are teamed up to deliver two-person care when the micro-preemies need to be touched.  As the babies grow, they may be transitioned out of the small baby unit to the NICU.

Hospitals with Small Baby Units (this is not a comprehensive list)

  • Advocate Lutheran General Hospital (Park Ridge, IL)
  • Children’s Hospital (Orange, CA)
  • Greenville Health System (Greenville, SC)
  • Helen Devos Children’s Hospital (Grand Rapids, MI)
  • Mercyhealth Hospital-Rockton Avenue (Rockford, IL)
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital (Columbus, OH)

Sources:

Gonya, J., and others. (2017). Investigating skin-to-skin care patterns with extremely preterm infants in the NICU and their effect on early cognitive and communication performance: A retrospective cohort study. BMJ Open, 7.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5372108/pdf/bmjopen-2016-012985.pdf

GHS launches NICU small baby unit. (2017, May 12). WSPA-TV. http://wspa.com/2017/05/12/ghs-launches-nicu-small-baby-unit/

Jackson, A. (2015, December 9).  Born at 25 weeks weighing less than 2 pounds, ‘spunky’ girl survives in small baby unit. MLive. http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2015/12/small_baby_nicu_at_devos_child.html

Morris, M., Cleary, P., and Soliman, A. (2015, October). Small baby unit improves quality and outcomes in extremely low birth weight infants. Pediatrics, 136(4).  http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/136/4/e1007.full.pdf

Watley, K. (2017, February 6). Mercyhealth in Rockford opens region’s first small baby unit to care for micro-preemies. https://mercyhealthsystem.org/mercyhealth-opens-small-baby-unit-rockford/

Woloshyn, E. (2017, April 20). Special unit mimics mother’s womb. Health enews.

http://www.ahchealthenews.com/2017/04/20/special-unit-mimics-mothers-womb/  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050 rc@aha.org

BEST PRACTICES: Implementing a quality improvement bundle for care of high risk infants in the delivery room

This was a case study of 548 high-risk infants born 2010 to 2012 at Palomar Medical Center (Escondido, CA) who were then transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit at Palomar Rady Children’s Hospital (San Diego).  About half of the infants were born before implementation of an quality improvement project intended to standardize delivery room management – a preintervention group.  The merits of each of the changes in practice – such as a significant decrease in intubation – are discussed.  A delivery room checklist is included.

Source: Sauer, C.W., and others. (2016, November 16). Delivery room quality improvement project improved compliance with best practices for a community NICU. Scientific Reports, 6, 37397.  Click here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5116615/pdf/srep37397.pdf  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

BENCHMARKS: Space planning in labor and delivery

This is a rule-of-thumb provided by Hayward & Associates, a health care facility planning firm, that may be used to plan for a labor and delivery area.  In the following ratios, LDR means labor-delivery-recovery.  LDRP means the same except adds a postpartum stay in the same room – this is also known as single-room maternity care.

Space planning based on annual births

  • 100 to 200 births / LDRP room if the LDRP concept is used exclusively
  • 300 to 400 births / LDR or LDRP room if some patients are moved to a separate postpartum room after discharge

Recommended departmental gross square feet (DGSF) and departmental gross square meters (DGSM) are also given in this brief article.

Source: Hayward, C. (2017, Spring-Summer). Obstetrical services capacity and preliminary space need. SpaceMed Newsletter. Click here: https://www.spacemed.com/newsletter/rule-102-ob.pdf  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

SURGICAL SUITES: Guidelines on best practices to prevent surgical site infections

The number of unresolved issues in this guideline reveals substantial gaps that warrant future research.” (page E6)

Best practices in avoiding surgical site infections were studied by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the assistance of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee.  This guideline is based on the full text review of nearly 900 journal articles and studies.  The guideline is organized according to specific surgical practices – for example the efficacy of wearing a space suit during orthopedic surgery – and assigns each practice a rating on a continuum as to whether the practice is highly recommended, unresolved, or somewhere in between.  The rating on the space suits, for instance, is that it is unresolved.

Source: Berrios-Torres, S.I., and others. (2017, May 3). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guideline for the prevention of surgical site infection 2017. JAMA Surgery. Click here: http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamasurgery/fullarticle/2623725  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

Health Innovations State Law Database

The Health Innovations State Law Database created by the National Conference on State Legislatures is  a resource for identifying over 800 recently enacted state laws and regulations that address health policy innovations related to access, Medicaid, private and commercial insurance markets, the Accountable Care Act and social determinants of health.. The database supports searching by keyword, state, legislative status, bill number, sponsor, and/or these topics:

  • Exchanges and Health Marketplaces
  • Free Market; Challenges and Alternatives
  • Market-Cost Containment
  • Market-Coverage
  • Market-Delivery Reform [includes accountable care]
  • Market-Health Insurance Reforms
  • Market-Mandates and Essential Health Benefits
  • Market-Network Adequacy
  • Market-Other
  • Market-Payment Reforms
  • Market-Price Transparency
  • Medicaid Expansion and Waivers
  • Medicaid Payment Reform
  • Medicaid-General
  • PPACA – ACA-Health Reforms
  • State-Run Programs
  • Telehealth Programs

However, the full-text of the legislation located is restricted to NCLS members.

Source: Health innovations state law database: tracking state laws for health care transformation, 2015-2016. National Conference of State Legislatures, accessed Jan. 27, 2017. http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/health-innovations-database.aspx

Posted by AHA Resource Center, (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

RESEARCH: Takes 17 years to translate to clinical practice

This is a brief interview with Andrew B. Bindman, M.D., the director of the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) about recent threats to the agency’s federal funding and program priorities.  Dr. Bindman mentions that one priority is to shorten the lag time that it takes for research evidence to be disseminated into use in clinical practice.  One approach is a program called EvidenceNOW that provides coaching to primary care physicians in small practices.  Another uses telemedicine and a hub-and-spoke approach to connect specialists and PCPs.  Dr. Bindman also mentions a new Comparative Health System Performance initiative intended to compare the organizational performance of multi-institutional health systems.

Source: Stephenson, J. (2016, Sept. 30). AHRQ director sets course for agency’s health services research. JAMA.  Click here: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2565313   Posted by AHA Resource Center, (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

INFECTION CONTROL: CUSP program found to reduce UTIs in non-ICU units

The federal government funded the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP), a multi-year, nationwide effort to decrease the rate of urinary tract infection associated with the use of catheters in hospitalized patients.  This project was under the leadership of AHA’s Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET).  The project involved disseminating information and tool kits about best practices and collecting data.  Data from over 600 hospitals were studied; these findings represent part of the hospitals that participated.  It was found that hospital units that were not ICUs benefited from the program – as evidenced by a reduced UTI infection rate – but ICUs did not.

Reductions occurred mainly in non-ICUs, where catheter-associated UTI rates decreased from 2.28 to 1.54 infections per 1000 catheter-days…”

Source: Saint, S., and others. (2016, June 2). A program to prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infection in acute care. The New England Journal of Medicine, 374(22), 2111-2119.  Click here for free full text: http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa1504906  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312)422-2050, rc@aha.org