The Women and Children’s Center at Great Bend Regional Hospital received confirmation that it was once again awarded the status as a High Five for Mom & Baby Hospital. The High Five Program, which was initiated and funded by the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, incorporates specific maternity care procedures based on proven health benefits associated with breastfeeding. Out of the 58 hospitals around the state that committed to the program, only 28 have earned the recognition for program renewal year after year.
“Our hospital has been utilizing these practices for quite a while, but continuing education and employee participation in the High Five program is required to maintain our status as one of the few facilities in the state who earn this designation,” says Stephanie Buchholz-Jones, Supervisor of the Women and Children’s Center. “To maintain this rating, we must meet five criteria that include a minimum 80% performance rating, updating our hospital policies annually, working with a certified lactation consultant, and investing in employee education on skills and best practices to promote breastfeeding.”
Research indicates a link between increased health risks for a baby and not breastfeeding. Increased risks include high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, pneumonia, leukemia, childhood obesity, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Studies also show health benefits for mothers who breastfeed, such as a decreased incidence of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
“Your ongoing commitment to excellence in maternity care as a recognized High 5 hospital reassures parents planning to breastfeed that they will be in the best possible hands,” says Gwen Whittit, High 5 Program Coordinator. “Most importantly, it provides moms and babies in your community with health benefits that will last a lifetime.”
The five best practices associated with the High 5 for Mom and Baby standards include immediate skin-to-skin time during the golden hour after birth, giving newborns no food or drink other than breastmilk unless medically indicated, practicing “rooming in” so mothers and infants can remain together 24 hours a day, not giving pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants, and providing mothers options for support in the community. Great Bend Regional Hospital takes that one step further by encouraging delayed bathing, which minimizes separation after birth and helps better regulate the baby’s body temperature. Those interested in learning more about High 5 for Mom and Baby can visit the program’s website: www.High5Kansas.org.
Great Bend Regional Hospital’s Women and Children’s Center delivers between 30 and 40 babies per month to parents from all over central and southwest Kansas. The hospital also holds Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas’ highest possible designation as Blue Distinction Plus Center for Maternity Care.