Griffin Hospital Gets ‘Baby Friendly’ Designation
by Fred Musante | Oct 26, 2012 1:05 pm
Griffin Hospital is known for its Planetree patient-centered care and Childbirth Center, so it was just natural for the hospital to obtain the internationally recognized Baby-Friendly designation.
Hospital staff and state Department of Public Health (DPH) officials, including Commissioner Jewel Mullen, gathered at Griffin’s dining room Thursday morning to celebrate the achievement Griffin alongside five other hospitals in the state boasting the Baby-Friendly label.
According to Mullen, Griffin benefited from an initiate funded partially with federal economic stimulus money, including a $6,000 grant directly to the hospital, to increase the number of hospitals with the designation. Earlier this year, the Hospital of Saint Raphael in New Haven was another.
“This is the second time this year when I’ve been able to visit a hospital and say it’s been designated as Baby-Friendly,” Mullen said.
Griffin Hospital President Patrick Charmel said the credit for launching the hospital’s path to the new designation goes to Lactation Consultant Michele McGuire and Prenatal Educator Jennifer Matranga, both on the staff of the Childbirth Center, who approached him with the idea in 2010.
The designation is a global program by the World Health Organization and UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). It is administered in the U.S. by Baby Friendly USA, a nonprofit organization that handles the certification assessments.
McGuire was the chairperson of the in-house committee that oversaw revising Griffin Hospital policies and procedures to meet the Baby-Friendly designation standards. She said that required work by the staffs of a number of hospital departments, so dozens of other hospital employees, as well as state employees that provided assistance, should share the credit for the achievement.
Mullen said the state DPH paid for training hospital employees so they could meet the Baby-Friendly standards.
Among the changes are a focus on “skin-to-skin” contact between babies and parents beginning immediately after birth. Breast feeding and rooming-in by mothers with their babies is strongly encouraged and facilitated.
Mullen said research shows that these Baby-Friendly practices provide a number of important health benefits for both mothers and children.
Breast feeding and skin-to-skin contact is credited with lowering the potential for future obesity and the incidence of diabetes significantly. They result in improved health for both the mother and the baby, and also closer bonding that results in emotional and psychological benefits for both the parents and their children.
Griffin Hospital is already certified as a Planetree Patient-Centered Hospital with Distinction, and this makes it the first hospital in Connecticut to hold both designations.
The Planetree philosophy focuses hospital care on patient education and empowerment and on providing the an exceptional patient experience, according to a statement by Charmel released by the hospital Thursday.
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