AMC recognized as baby-friendlyPublished 8:10am Friday, January 28, 2011
Austin Medical Center is the first hospital in the state to receive an international baby-friendly designation.
The award was given to the hospital through the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a program supported by the World Health Organization and United Nation’s Children’s Fund.
AMC was awarded the distinction after a two-day on-site interview process. During the test time, patients, nurses and physicians were asked questions relating to the health care organization’s newborn policies.
Physicians who deal with newborns in the hospital’s Women’s Special Care Unit are required to undergo a breastfeeding competency course, according to Candace Hample, a registered nurse in the Women’s Special Care Unit.
The unit also gives patients with education before and after the pregnancy, as well as counseling for those dealing with post-partum.
“Gone are the days when care to the newborn was done only in the nursery,” Hample said in a press release. “Now all care is done right at the bedside in the patient’s room involving all care givers and the parents.”
Earning the recognition is more than just a pat on the back for the hospital. Dr. John Coppes, OBGYN at AMC, said the recognition shows the healthcare facility’s evolving approach to women’s health.
“The benefits of breastfeeding could translate into millions of dollars of savings for our health care system through decreased hospitalization and pediatric clinic visits,” he said.
AMC’s breastfeeding rate is at 80 percent — higher than the national average of 75 percent, he added.
AMC will be recognized as having the distinction for five years, at which time the hospital’s women’s unit will again be assessed to determine if quality of care fits requirements.