Cody Regional Health is adding a new program to their Women’s Health and Nursery Department. This new addition will allow infants to be examined by physicians in Denver and Billings via video and audio. They can then make recommendations on treatment or determine if they should be transferred to a neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU).
Doctors can call a neonatal expert if a premature baby shows signs that could indicate that he or she needs more care. This was previously only possible by phone, but the new program allows these specialists to see and hear the baby via ultrasounds. Sonja Jackson, the Women’s Health and Nursery Department Clinical Supervisor, said this could result in fewer unneeded transfers.
“Some of those babies may be able to stay [in Cody] and it wouldn’t be necessary for them to transfer,” said Jackson. “So it would be easier for the neonatologist to help make that determination that they [the infants] are physiologically stable and that they could stay at a level one nursery and they wouldn’t need that higher level of care.”
Cody Regional Health has a Level 1 nursery center. That means the department’s capabilities include neonatal resuscitation at every delivery, evaluating and providing postnatal care for a stable newborn and stabilizing and providing care for infants born at 35 to 37 weeks if they remain physically and physiologically stable. A higher level of care may be required for newborns who are sick or were born earlier than 35 weeks.
This program could help with common newborn conditions, such as premature delivery, intensive care or advanced resuscitation, breathing problems, and birth defects.
Jackson stated that the need to transfer infants into the NICU is more common in recent years.
“With more and more problems that we see maternally, moms that have diabetes…we just seem like we have a higher incidence of problems that we’ll see with the moms, so that then can be a higher risk that we’ll see some problems with the baby later on,” said Jackson. “So it happens fairly frequently and it seems like it’s happening more frequently, honestly.”
The tele-programme begins April 4.
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