Fort Belvoir Community Hospital staff explain the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative to Sarah Cole (holding newborn Max), and her husband Rory, July 16, 2014. Belvoir hospital recently became the second hospital in the state to receive official accreditation as a Baby-Friendly Hospital, which aims to give all mothers the information, confidence, and skills necessary to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies or feeding formula safely to enhance patient satisfaction and improve health outcomes. (Department of Defense photo by Alexandra Snyder) See press release here.
FORT BELVOIR, Va. (July 18, 2014) — Fort Belvoir Community Hospital has received the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative accreditation, affording patients the highest standard of care and consistency of information in how to feed and care for their baby.
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is an evidenced-based wellness program that provides families with a strong foundation in the early days of a baby’s life. With more than 90 percent of families entering the facility intending to breastfeed their new baby, BFHI ensures patients receive the same information on breastfeeding, infant feeding, and caring for their baby regardless of where they receive care in the hospital.
“In essence it is about empowering families to improve the health and well-being of their child and themselves,” said Lt. Col. Gabrielle Maybee, medical director of quality. “Belvoir hospital is serious about focusing on the wellness of the families in our community.”
The BFHI is a four-step, hospital-wide performance improvement process aimed at giving mothers and families the tools to be successful at initiating and maintaining breastfeeding within moments of delivery and up until – ideally – two years postpartum.
Baby-Friendly USA is part of an international group that works with hospitals globally, so this designation puts Belvoir hospital on the international map. Belvoir hospital is the second hospital in the state and third in the National Capital Region to receive this accreditation.
The process is typically four years (or four “steps”), to include training all Belvoir hospital staff members on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.
“Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative isn’t just a maternal child initiative, it is a hospital initiative,” said Navy Capt. Jane French, former section chief for Maternal-Child and Behavioral Health Nursing. “No matter what role a staff member has in the hospital, all healthcare workers need to have some knowledge of BFHI, and be able to help the patients find the resources available within our hospital.”
In much the same way that The Joint Commission surveys a hospital, members of the accreditation team evaluated the hospital processes and observe the providers and nursing staff on site providing the same care they do each day – patient-centered and patient-focused care.
“Several quality initiatives were pivotal in our success the last few years and impressed our inspectors,” said Maybee.
The skin-to-skin project allows mothers having cesarean deliveries to have close contact with their infants within minutes of delivery instead of waiting until the recovery room. The Breastfeeding Resource Nurse course provided an additional breastfeeding course for nursing and other staff outside the inpatient setting to improve the support that mothers and infants receive in all clinical spaces.
“BFHI certification tells our patients that we care about the first days together as a family with the parents getting to know how to respond and care for their newborn,” said French. “The staff has been educated on how to support every parents feeding decision by giving them the information they need to be successful.”
Patients put a lot of research into where they want to deliver their baby, and how receptive and supportive the staff is to breastfeeding is important to today’s consumer, French said.
With the Baby-Friendly accreditation, Belvoir hospital will give all mothers the information, confidence, and skills necessary to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies or feeding formula safely to enhance patient satisfaction and improve health outcomes.