The Jay County Hospital (JCH) Obstetrics (OB) Department has been delivering babies for decades, continuing to provide a service to the community that many residents in Indiana do not have available to them. In fact, 31 counties in Indiana do not have obstetric services available forcing residents to travel longer distances for OB care.
While providing the highest quality care has always been a top priority for the JCH OB Unit, they have also stayed on top of leading edge technology and equipment by recently purchasing a new hearing screener, funded by the JCH Foundation and new infant warmers, funded by a private donation. Finding these top-of-the-line amenities at a rural hospital is unusual, but not at JCH, who continues to receive support from their team members, medical staff, Board and community to keep Obstetrics care available locally.
To continue staying on the forefront of healthcare, a new service was recently introduced and is now available to new parents. The Jay County Hospital Obstetrics Unit now has Pasteurized Donor Human Milk (PDHM) available for newborn babies. After becoming a Certified Lactation Consultant, Ashley Corwin, a JCH OB Nurse, began looking into the use of donor milk. Ashley contacted Sarah Long at The Milk Bank located in Indianapolis in early 2016 to see what needed to done to become a donor hospital, and in April 2017, JCH received their first milk donation.
The JCH OB Unit is classified as having a Level 1 Nursery meaning they are certified to care for healthy babies over 35 weeks, in addition to having the capabilities to stabilize, resuscitate then transfer ill babies if needed. With only 3 other Level 1 Units in the state of Indiana using donor milk, “Jay County is considered progressive for a small unit to have implemented using PDHM!” states Long.
While breastfeeding is encouraged for all new mothers, there may be instances when utilizing a mother’s own milk is not a possibility, so donor milk is another option. This allows more babies to receive the benefits of breast milk including: infection fighting, active growth and development hormones, ideal nutrition and improved digestion. All mothers who deliver at JCH are informed and offered the use of donor milk, but only after all options to use the mother’s own milk are exhausted. To date, a total of 16 bottles of donor milk have been used to assist 6 mothers and babies at Jay County Hospital.
"We encourage all new Moms to breastfeed, to get all of the health benefits of the mother’s milk, but in cases when that’s not possible, it’s great to have another option for those Moms and babies. And to be the only rural, Level 1 Nursery in the area to offer donor milk to well babies is really exciting,” notes Julie Teeter, JCH OB Unit Coordinator.
Dave Hyatt, JCH CEO is also excited about the new service available, “It’s great to see our team members take initiative to research and bring such a beneficial program to Jay County, to make this available to our patients. It really shows the character of our team and how they truly care for each and every person cared for here at Jay County Hospital.”
The OB Department has also recently seen some cosmetic changes, with renovations recently completed in the Nurse’s Station and Nursery area, and additional upgrades scheduled to begin soon in the labor rooms. These updates and upgrades are just in time for the increase in new babies, with a 40% expected growth in deliveries for 2017.