Hamilton working to prevent maternal deaths during pregnancy, birth

Monday, May 12, 2014

 Pictured are Turner Maternal and Infant Care Center associates. In the front, from left, are Gail Johnson, Labor & Delivery nurse; and Miriam Starr, Mother/Baby manager. In the back are Melinda Edgeman, director; Dee Nichols, Labor & Delivery manager; Terri Woodruff, NICU manager; Barbara Jones Labor & Delivery nurse; and Lisa Leamon, nurse educator.
Pictured are Turner Maternal and Infant Care Center associates. In the front, from left, are Gail Johnson, Labor & Delivery nurse; and Miriam Starr, Mother/Baby manager. In the back are Melinda Edgeman, director; Dee Nichols, Labor & Delivery manager; Terri Woodruff, NICU manager; Barbara Jones Labor & Delivery nurse; and Lisa Leamon, nurse educator.

DALTON, Ga.  – Hamilton Medical Center (HMC) is joining a multi-year, three-pronged initiative launched by the Association of Women’s Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) to improve the treatment of pregnancy related complications. The first initiative focuses on improving the treatment of obstetric hemorrhage – one of the leading causes of death during labor and delivery.

AWHONN’s Postpartum Hemorrhage (PPH) Project has gathered 54 birthing hospitals in Georgia and New Jersey to assess and improve clinical practices.  Additional hospitals in the District of Columbia are expected to join the PPH Project later this year.  Of participating hospitals, they had more than 125,000 births in 2012. HMC is one of 22 participating Georgia hospitals.

Women in the U.S. experience greater risk of death from pregnancy-related complications than women in 46 other countries.  While two to three women die every day in the U.S. from pregnancy-related complications, more than half of these deaths are preventable.  Incidents of obstetric hemorrhage (or bleeding too much during childbirth) have increased in recent years along with an overuse of inductions of labor.

Research suggests that women who have inductions of labor have a greater risk of experiencing postpartum hemorrhage.  Between 1999 and 2009, the number of women who received blood transfusions during and immediately after childbirth increased by 183%.  African American women are disproportionately affected by birthing complications with three to four times more deaths than women of all other racial and ethnic groups.

“Hamilton Medical Center will help to identify clinical best practices for treating postpartum hemorrhage and work with national experts to share knowledge as part of the Postpartum Hemorrhage Project,” said AWHONN’s CEO, Lynn Erdman, MN, RN, FAAN.  “Their participation is crucial for reducing preventable maternal deaths and making mothers and babies safer.”

Supported by a grant from Merck for Mothers, AWHONN’s Postpartum Hemorrhage (PPH) Project is designed to:
• increase clinician recognition of women at greatest risk of obstetric hemorrhage;
• increase early recognition of women who are bleeding too much;
• increase the readiness of clinical team preparedness to successfully respond to obstetric hemorrhage; and
• improve clinician response to obstetric hemorrhage.

Additional practice improvements will include identifying barriers to treating obstetric hemorrhage, sharing clinical best practices, and identifying how to more effectively implement similar improvements in all hospitals in the United States.

The Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) is the foremost nursing authority that advances the health care of women and newborns through advocacy, research and the creation of high quality, evidence-based standards of care. AWHONN strives to represent the interests of 350,000 registered nurses working in women's health, obstetric and neonatal nursing nationwide.

AWHONN’s 24,000 members worldwide are clinicians, educators and executives who serve as patient care advocates focusing on the needs of women and infants. A leader in professional development, AWHONN holds the distinction of receiving the Premier Program award by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for innovation and excellence in Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) three times.