Pediatric Care

Colorful Baby Keepsake Doubles as Medical Diary

Posted on Jan 8, 2020 in California Pacific Medical Center, Pediatric Care, People, Quality, Scroll Images

“Tiny Victories of Life” beads track critically ill and premature infants’ medical journeys

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – At Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) Van Ness Campus hospital, Child Life Specialists help parents mark their critically ill or premature newborns’ milestones using colorful beads and charms with the “Tiny Victories of Life” program.

Just ask new mom Amanda Bates about her son Asher’s Tiny Victories strand of beads.

“Each bead that has a figure represents an achievement of that day,” says Bates, while holding a string with nearly 40 beads.

Critically ill and premature babies at CPMC spend their first weeks or months fighting to achieve crucial health markers. Child Life Specialists use the aptly-named “Tiny Victories of Life” program as visual storytelling to document and celebrate each baby’s remarkable journey.

Amanda Bates’ son Asher, who arrived six weeks early, is steadily hitting important milestones that babies in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are required to reach before discharge.

The program was started in 2016 by hospital Child Life director, Lori Denault, who modeled it after “Beads of Courage,” a similar national initiative that tracks patient progress using beads. (Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento participates in Beads of Courage.)

Blue beads represent individual days, while special charms represent significant or personally meaningful achievements such as a duck charm for baby’s first bath or a music note each time baby receives music therapy. Asher’s Tiny Victories strand includes a red bead to mark meeting Santa Claus because he spent his first Christmas in the hospital.

The Tiny Victories of Life program encourages parents to forge a strong bond with their newborns—which can be a challenge when a baby is very ill and must remain in the hospital for a long period of time after birth. Beads are added to the strands each week during one-on-one family sessions or at a NICU parent group meeting.

Bates Family
Kyle and Amanda Bates pose with baby Asher at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) Van Ness Campus hospital.

CPMC Child Life Specialist Shannon Banahan says, “Tiny Victories is a way for parents to look forward to the progress their baby is making. Families can get overwhelmed in thinking about the long and seemingly never-ending days in the NICU. But once they look back on their beads and see how far their baby has come, it feels like there’s an end in sight and makes them hopeful and proud.”

On Asher’s discharge day, he received the final bead in his strand—the butterfly bead, which signifies he’s ready to spread his wings.

“Receiving the butterfly bead is always emotional for parents, both because they are leaving this community of nurses and new parent friends and also because they are finally being able to start this new chapter of life at home with baby,” says Banahan.

Fourteen Sutter Hospitals Honored for Reducing C-Sections

Posted on Dec 13, 2019 in Pediatric Care, Quality, Scroll Images, Uncategorized, Women's Services

Cal Hospital Compare award recognizes hospitals meeting national goal.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sutter hospitals, which have among the lowest cesarean section (C-section) rates in California, were recognized today by the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) for reducing cesarean births for first-time moms with low-risk pregnancies. Fourteen hospitals at the not-for-profit health care network were named to the state’s 2019 Maternity Care Honor Roll, nine of which have been recognized on this honor roll for four consecutive years. Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of CHHS, announced the honor roll recognition on behalf of Cal Hospital Compare, a performance reporting initiative informed by representatives from hospitals, purchasers, health plans, and consumer groups. The following Sutter hospitals were named to the 2019 Maternity Care Honor Roll:

  • Alta Bates Summit Medical Center – Alta Bates Campus 
  • California Pacific Medical Center – Mission Bernal Campus 
  • Eden Medical Center 
  • Memorial Medical Center 
  • Memorial Hospital Los Banos
  • Mills-Peninsula Medical Center 
  • Sutter Davis Hospital 
  • Sutter Delta Medical Center 
  • Sutter Lakeside Hospital 
  • Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center of Santa Cruz 
  • Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento 
  • Sutter Roseville Medical Center 
  • Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital 
  • Sutter Solano Medical Center

“Improving the quality of patient care in hospitals is critically important,” said CHHS Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “These annual measurements through Cal Hospital Compare allow us to acknowledge hospitals doing excellent work.”

When complications arise during pregnancy, C-sections can save the lives of mothers and infants, but some women undergo the surgery for no medical reason, exposing both mother and baby to potentially avoidable risks. To respond to the rise in unnecessary C-sections, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services adopted the Healthy People 2020 target of reducing nationwide C-section rates for low-risk, first-births to 23.9 percent. The Maternity Care Honor Roll acknowledges hospitals that have achieved—and in many cases gone beyond—that goal. The Sutter Health system NTSV C-section Rate for a rolling 12 months ending October 31, 2019 was 20.8 percent, well below the 23.9 national goal.

“Over the last decade, Sutter Health has developed and implemented many programs to improve the care and safety of mothers and babies through pregnancy, labor and delivery,” said Sutter Health Chief Medical Officer Stephen Lockhart, M.D., Ph.D.. “We’ve worked hard to enhance quality and safety at our hospitals to ensure we have among the lowest C-section rates in California, rates which are experienced equitably by mothers of all races and ethnicities—so it’s especially gratifying to receive recognition for leadership in this area.”

Sutter hospitals consistently outperform state and national averages for many measures of quality, and Sutter Health is committed to accurately and transparently sharing quality data with patients. The Sutter Hospital Quality Dashboard allows patients to learn more about the care provided throughout Sutter’s integrated network. In addition, patients are encouraged to talk with their doctors and nurses about any questions or specific outcomes related to their care.

Expectant Mom Suffers Massive Stroke: How a Health Network Saved Her and Her Baby

Posted on Oct 25, 2019 in Affiliates, Carousel, Expanding Access, Innovation, Neuroscience, Pediatric Care, People, Quality, Scroll Images, Sutter Davis Hospital, Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa, Sutter Roseville Medical Center, Women's Services

Just two days from delivering her third child, Vivian Dos Santos suffered an intracerebral hemorrhage – a life-threatening stroke. Watch her amazing story, with details on how an integrated health network saves and blesses lives, by viewing the following video. You may want some tissues handy just in case …

For more on her story, and to view an infographic on Sutter’s integrated system, go to www.sutterhealth.org/newsroom/can-expect-integrated-network.

What a Difference a Year Makes

Posted on Aug 29, 2019 in California Pacific Medical Center, Pediatric Care, People, Scroll Images

Baby and Mission Bernal Hospital Share a Birthday

SAN FRANCISCO –One year ago this week, newborn baby Francis Peterson and his mother, were the first patients admitted to the new hospital at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC), Mission Bernal Campus. Mission Bernal camput hospital opened for service at 7:00 a.m. on August 25, 2018, and shortly thereafter Francis and his mother were wheeled over on a gurney from the old hospital where he was born, to be the first patients through the door.

Now Francis is one year old! For a child, celebrating a first birthday is a major milestone with parties and gifts—whereas a hospital’s first year milestone is acknowledged and quickly moved past in the name of focusing on continuing to provide high quality healthcare.

Opening Mission Bernal hospital’s doors was the beginning of a new chapter in medical care for San Francisco’s southern neighborhoods. With a beautiful new building, and a new name that reflects the neighborhoods in which it’s located. Mission Bernal hospital offers new and expanded services to the community including larger departments for emergency services–with a geriatric accreditation, as well as a larger labor and delivery unit, orthopedic surgeries and the Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) unit dedicated to the care of patients over the age of 70.

In one year, with 800 babies delivered and over 3,200 surgeries performed, CPMC’s Mission Bernal Campus hospital has become the community hospital of choice in the southern section of San Francisco.

Happy birthday Francis and happy anniversary to Mission Bernal and its dedicated staff and physicians!

 

 

 

Reducing Childhood Obesity One Family at a Time

Posted on Aug 7, 2019 in Innovation, Pediatric Care, Scroll Images, Sutter Delta Medical Center, Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation

New Program Aims to Help East Contra Costa County Kids Achieve and Maintain Healthy Weight

 

ANTIOCH, Calif. –Making sure kids eat a balanced diet and maintain a proper weight can be a difficult task. Especially if the child is overweight, obese or a picky eater.

In Contra Costa County the problem is especially acute. Kidsdata.org, a program at the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, compiled data in 2018 by grade level and found that in the county 36.1 percent of fifth graders, 35.7 percent of seventh graders and 33.4 percent of ninth graders are overweight or obese. According to the Centers for Disease Control, overweight or obese children are at high risk of becoming overweight adolescents and adults, placing them at risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes later in life. They are also more prone to develop stress, sadness, and low self-esteem.

Richard Singer, M.D., a pediatrician with Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation (SEBMF) based in Brentwood, had become increasingly concerned about the overweight children he sees in his practice and the lack of nutritional counseling services available in eastern Contra Costa County.

So after careful planning, Dr. Singer recently started a pediatric weight management program at outpatient pediatric offices in Antioch and Brentwood. As part of the program, a registered dietician on the staff at Sutter Delta Medical Center sees patients one day a week at an SEBMF care center.

“There is an epidemic of childhood obesity and all of the complications associated with obesity,” Dr. Singer said. “Our community needs resources to help intervene and improve the quality of life of these children. The pediatric dietician will help parents and their children make better food choices as well as providing ongoing support and helping to monitor their progress.”

In June, Elika Vargas, a registered dietitian at Sutter Delta Medical Center, began meeting with parents and their children on Mondays, either in the SEBMF primary care clinic in Antioch or Brentwood. Children from 2 to 18 years of age are referred to her by primary care physicians.

Vargas reviews the child’s medical history and assesses the child’s eating patterns. Her goal is not to put the child on a diet but to guide the child and the parents on how to eat healthy meals. She also asks the parents and child about physical activity, as lack of exercise contributes significantly to being overweight or obese. Follow-up care is important to assess adherence to nutrition recommendations and weight trends.

“The idea is to promote a healthy lifestyle and gradual weight loss, and to teach families about nutrition so they can make these decisions on their own,” Vargas said. “I let them know why they should be eating more whole grains, fruits and vegetables to get the right nutrition.”

Many barriers to healthy eating exist. The availability of convenience and processed foods, larger portion sizes and lack of physical activity are some of the contributors to obesity. Families are busy and eating fast food may be easier than preparing a balanced meal.

It can be difficult to get children to eat fruits and vegetables. Parents have to be willing to be role models by following their own healthy lifestyle with good nutrition and plenty of exercise.

Some of her advice to parents on how to help children adopt a healthy lifestyle includes:

  • Cut out sugary desserts and juices or try fruit-infused water.
  • Avoid processed and convenience foods. Cook meals at home so children are more likely to have enough vegetables and whole grains.
  • Encourage kids to get involved in preparing meals or in helping with grocery shopping.
  • Offer a variety of fruits and vegetables with different colors, flavors and textures.

“With kids you have to offer healthy choices such as fruit and vegetables multiple times,” Vargas said. “It’s persistence and communication.”

 

 

 

 

 

A PAL for Preemies: Musical Pacifier Helps Babies Learn to Eat

Posted on Jul 24, 2019 in California Pacific Medical Center, NICU, Pediatric Care, Quality, Scroll Images

SAN FRANCISCO — Born a month and a half early at just 34 weeks, tiny baby Olive O’Neill was so premature that she was unable to feed orally. But by sucking on a pacifier that plays a lullaby sung by her parents, baby Olive quickly learned how to feed and has successfully gone home to her family.

Baby Olive using the PAL

The innovative device is called a PAL, short for Pacifier-Activated Lullaby. The PAL works by motivating babies to suck on a specially designed pacifier to help strengthen their sucking reflex.

At birth, premature infants often lack a developed sucking reflex. The inability to feed on their own is a common reason they remain hospitalized after birth. To help these newborns develop the sucking reflex more quickly so they can go home sooner, California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) Van Ness Campus hospital in San Francisco, part of Sutter Health’s integrated not-for-profit network of care, is now using the PAL in its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Research backs the PAL

According to music therapist Elisha Madsen, MME, MT-BC, who works with parents in CPMC’s NICU to train their infants with the special pacifier, studies show that premature infants who receive PAL therapy develop an increased ability to eat on their own more quickly, gain weight and have a reduced length of NICU hospitalization.

Studies have determined that average NICU hospital stays were 20 percent shorter (nine days on average) for babies who received PAL treatment versus babies who did not. Studies also have shown that babies increased their sucking rates up to 2.5 times more than infants who did not receive PAL. Increased sucking translates to improved oral feeding skills, which can directly affect a baby’s ability to go home from the NICU sooner.

How PAL works

The PAL is attached to a sensor that measures the strength of the baby’s sucking. When the PAL detects that the baby has sucked on the pacifier to a predetermined strength, the baby earns a reward – a lullaby recorded by the baby’s mom or dad. Music therapist Madsen explains that hearing their parent singing a lullaby motivates babies to continue sucking on the pacifier, which in turn improves the sucking reflex.

Charles and Alissa O’Neill, who recorded the traditional lullaby “London Bridge is Falling Down” for their daughter Olive, credit the PAL with helping her develop the ability to feed.

“Having the PAL is great because you could see instantly that she had a really good response to both her mom’s voice and my voice – which helped her develop her sucking,” says Olive’s dad, Charles.

“The last couple of weeks of our stay at CPMC were focused around feeding and helping Olive [learn to] feed on her own,” adds mom Alissa. “After we used the PAL, we also sang to Olive to help encourage her to feed.”

Madsen says that, within a couple of minutes, most babies learn they will have to suck on the pacifier to receive their music reward. “Parents light up when they see their baby is responding to their singing voices and is learning the skills needed to eat and go home,” Madsen says. “It is just precious to see this reaction.”

CPMC’s Level III NICU: Life-saving Technologies and Compassionate Support

CPMC’s Van Ness Campus hospital NICU is a designated level III NICU capable of caring for very small or very sick newborn babies that may need continuous life support and comprehensive care. Level III NICUs also offer a full range of pediatric medical subspecialists capable of providing critical medical and surgical care and to address problems that premature and critically ill newborns may have.

Studies have shown better outcomes for very low birth weight infants and premature infants who are born at level III centers, leading to recommendations that women at risk be transported to these centers to give birth. Through Sutter Health’s integrated network of care, women with high-risk pregnancies, and babies born prematurely or with complications, can be transported to a higher level of NICU with seamless coordination of medical care and support. This seamless care can reduce complication, reduce hospital readmissions and reduce the overall cost of care.