CHOC Small Baby Unit Serves as Model at Conference

VON 1Dozens of representatives from neonatal intensive care units nationwide recently toured CHOC Children’s Small Baby Unit (SBU) and learned how to replicate the facility in their own hospitals as part of a conference held by the Vermont Oxford Network (VON).

About 50 attendees spent two days this month at CHOC, touring and attending workshops and roundtable discussions. Among the sessions was “Creating a Small Baby Program: The CHOC SBU Experience,” presented by Dr. Antoine Soliman, SBU director, and Mindy Morris, DNP, SBU program coordinator and nurse practitioner.

In that session, the pair defined key components and approaches of the program that help develop a team dedicated to the care of micro-preemies; identified strategies for staff engagement in developing tools and processes to standardize the care of babies with extremely low birth weights (ELBW); examined potential challenges and barriers to the development of an ELBW team, and devised possible solutions.

Morris also shared data accumulated by the unit since it opened in 2010, as well as outcome improvements for conditions that are common for this delicate patient population.

“Families as Team Members,” covered patient andSBU_tour_VON family-centered care, including how to enhance the family experience and further staff knowledge. In this session, former SBU parents shared their experience of being a part of the patient care team.

As part of the conference, SBU staff also offered insight into their roles and responsibilities within the unit, as well as the essential tools used by the team in standardizing care for the micro-premature infant.

Conference attendees also had time to devise ways that they could apply information gained from touring the SBU into their own NICU. They also had opportunities to ask questions and seek advice from SBU staff.

The visitors came from nine hospitals – adult and children’s – throughout the country, including Children’s Hospital at Providence (Alaska); Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota; Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital (Grand Rapids, Mich.);  Stanford Children’s Health; and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital (University of Michigan).

Founded in 1989, VON is a nonprofit, voluntary collaboration of health care professionals dedicated to the quality and safety of medical care for newborns and their families. VON comprises more than 900 NICUs worldwide.

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