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Infant safe sleep program earns HAP achievement award

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

2,500 homes have received a Pack N’ Play to assure a safe sleep environment

WellSpan York Hospital has won a Hospital Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) Community Benefit Achievement Award for its entry, “The Hospital as a Village: Saving Babies’ Lives.”

The hospital was recognized for its community-wide infant safe sleep program, which was been successful on multiple levels and has shown evidence of sustained improvements.

Sleep-related infant death is the No. 1 killer of infants age 1 month to 1 year in the United States.

“I’m proud of the work our institution has done to support the efforts to make babies as safe as possible,” said Mike Goodstein, MD, of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

“We have created a culture of safety, and it has taken the work of a lot of people to do so. I’m proud to have worked with everyone.”

In 2003, WellSpan York Hospital helped to develop a local chapter of Cribs for Kids with the mission to reduce infant mortality by providing infant sleep safety information to all new families, and providing a safe sleep environment (Graco Pack N’ Play) in cases where the family couldn’t afford one.

To date, 15,000 families have been provided with safe sleep education, and 2,500 homes have received a Pack N’ Play.

Goodstein is the director of the York County Cribs for Kids program. The simple consistent messaging of the national Back to Sleep campaign has resulted in a decrease in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by 53 percent over 10 years. In the same time period, the increase in back sleeping jumped from 13 percent to 76 percent.

WellSpan York Hospital health care providers have demonstrated improvements in attitudes and knowledge of infant safe sleep six to nine months after receiving education.

Improvements were noted in the familiarity with the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) safe sleep recommendations; asking families if they had a safe place for the baby to sleep; recognizing numerous factors that increase the risk of SIDS; and feelings of adequate safe sleep education. Meanwhile, approval of bed sharing decreased.

Recognizing the difficulty in maintaining adequate funding, Cribs for Kids was named the charity for the Employee Giving Campaign in 2013.

The campaign allowed for extensive safe sleep education for thousands of employees outside of the Women and Children’s Service Line.

The support throughout the hospital for keeping babies safe was overwhelming. More than $90,000 was raised for the program. This is expected to sustain the program for the next six years.

While significant progress has been made in the past decade, Goodstein noted that Pennsylvania rates 39th in infant mortality.

“The state needs to do better,” he said. “Hopefully, HAP’s recognition of our program will bring more attention to what we have done, and encourage other hospitals to follow suit.”

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