DCMH One of 32 Hospitals to Participate in Nationwide Study to Promote Safe Infant Sleep Practices
Drexel Hill, Pa. – Delaware County Memorial Hospital (DCMH) was one of 32 hospitals across the United States, and only one of two in Pennsylvania, to participate in the Surveys of Attitudes and Factors Affecting Infant Care Practices (SAFE) study to promote safe infant sleep practices. Surprisingly, certain sleep methods that are used today are considered unsafe for infants. Many of these practices have been known to result in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which is the leading cause of death among infants between one month and one year of age.
About the Study
The SAFE study was founded by pediatrics professor Eve Colson, M.D., F.A.A.P., from Yale University School of Medicine, and Michael Corwin, M.D., from Boston University’s Slone Epidemiology Center, and is currently sponsored by the Eunice K. Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the CJ Foundation for SIDS. The focus of the study is to investigate where mothers obtain information regarding infant sleeping practices and determine why they think these methods are the safest.
The study, which included a survey of 90 questions, was administered to 1,031 mothers from hospitals across the country. Based on the hospital’s population demographics reported from the U.S. Census, DCMH, a member of the Crozer-Keystone Health System, was randomly selected and approached about participation in April 2010. DCMH acted as a recruiting site for mothers with newborn babies. The survey was completed when the infant was between two and four months of age, and from July 2010 to July 2013 they recruited 133 mothers to participate. Researchers of the SAFE study gathered three years of information (2010-2013) and are currently analyzing the data.
While the final results are not anticipated to be released until 2015, those involved were surprised by the preliminary outcomes from the first year. The initial data found higher percentages of unsafe sleeping methods across various demographics.
One sleeping method investigated in the study was bed-sharing, which is an increasingly common practice that has been found to make infants nearly three times more likely to die from SIDS than infants who sleep alone. The SAFE study discovered that the bed-sharing rate was highest among Hispanic mothers (28%) compared with black mothers (18%) and white mothers (14%). Additional results examined the rate that mothers put their infants to sleep in the stomach-down position. The overall percentage was only 9%, which is on target with the national reduction goals. But the study discovered that the practice was reported by 20% of black mothers, 10% of white mothers and 6% of Hispanic mothers.
DCMH Clinical Nurse Specialist Weighs in on the Study
Sylvia Spaeth-Brayton, M.S.N., R.N.C.-L.R.N., clinical nurse specialist at Delaware County Memorial Hospital, commends the study and DCMH’s participating role. She is enthusiastic about the efforts being put forth to help mothers learn and understand safe practices of care for their infants. At the end of the day “it’s about patient care and it’s about infant safety,” Spaeth-Brayton explains. She believes that hospitals should constantly work to develop and improve a mother’s birth experience by providing them with the information they need to keep their infants safe. Spaeth-Brayton affirms that providing the necessary education is “the right thing to do and benefits everyone in the long run.”
DCMH in Next Study Phase: Quality Improvement Campaign
Currently, SAFE study researchers are following up on the next phase, which involves a quality improvement campaign for the staff with subsequent patient surveys. This study, the Social Media and Risk Reduction Training for Infant Care Practices (SMART) study, focuses on breastfeeding as well as safe sleep practices. Kathleen Macagnone, B.S.N., R.N.C.-O.B., is the perinatal bereavement coordinator for Delaware County Memorial Hospital and has been involved throughout the study. She reports that DCMH was “one of 16 of the original 32 hospitals chosen to participate in the study’s next phase.” She also says that “our quality improvements are centered on breastfeeding” with an overarching goal to improve communication messaging between nurses and caregivers. DCMH believes this is a vital and necessary process that ensures correct and accurate information is provided to all mothers with newborn babies.
Maternity Care at Crozer-Keystone
Each year, DCMH and its sister hospital, Crozer-Chester Medical Center, deliver more babies than any other hospital in Delaware County. They place great emphasis on infant education for all of their patients with newborn babies. Both hospitals provide families and caregivers with information from the Pennsylvania Department of Health regarding how to reduce their babies’ risk of SIDS and accidental suffocation during sleep. Families and caregivers are then asked to sign a voluntary statement that acknowledges they have received education from the hospital staff and nurses. Additionally, posters are displayed throughout both hospitals’ maternity units offering recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics for safe sleep practices as well as information about the dangers of bed sharing. Crozer also offers an education class that parents can attend on the maternity unit. This class, taught by childbirth educators, reviews the basics of newborn care and provides parents an opportunity to ask questions. Similarly, DCMH staff models for their patients the appropriate placement of newborns in a bassinet, per recommendations of the Eunice K. Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Cribs for Kids Program Promotes Infant Safety
Crozer-Keystone Health System promotes infant safety with an emphasis on safe sleeping. “Cribs for Kids,” a national infant safe-sleep initiative, was established in 1998 and offers education, awareness and cribs to families who have an urgent need. In 2006, Crozer-Keystone partnered with this national program to provide assistance to underserved families throughout Delaware County. As a local partner, Crozer-Keystone Health System’s Women and Children’s Health Services gives families a Graco Pack ‘n Play crib as well as a Halo Sleepsack for the colder weather months. These two products are used to curtail death and injury resulting from an infant’s sleeping environment. Paired with proper education and promotion of awareness, this program gives parents the knowledge they need to help them understand how environmental factors, such as temperature, can contribute to a higher risk of SIDS. Additionally, the program offers educational information such as learning what the sleeping area should look like, knowing what practices should be used, and becoming aware of the dangers of bed sharing.
Crozer-Keystone Promotes Education, Awareness
Crozer-Keystone Health System recognizes, with a sense of urgency, the call for proper education and awareness on both a local and national scale. Joanne Craig, M.S., director of Crozer-Keystone’s Women and Children’s Health Services, explains that “many people have old information and don’t understand the importance of certain practices such as placing an infant on his or her back.” In a constant effort to keep parents of newborn babies informed about SIDS and common risks, Crozer-Keystone Health System is committed to teach families and caregivers how to properly care for their infant in a safe manner.
For more information about maternity services at Crozer-Keystone Health System, please visit http://4ubaby.crozerkeystone.org. Call 1-855-CK-BABIES (1-855-252-2243) for a referral to a CKHS OB/GYN, family physician who delivers babies, or midwife.