EMPower Hospital Spotlight: CHRISTUS Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth
CHRISTUS Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth Health System is located in Beaumont, Texas, a small community of approximately 120,000 that consists of 47% African American, 39% Caucasian, 13% Hispanic and 3% Asian populations. Big industries in the area include oil and gas refineries, and one of the largest oil discoveries in Texas, known as Spindletop, even occurred in Beaumont! Additionally, the area offers higher education through Lamar University, one of the fastest growing universities in the state that brings thousands to the city each year.
Committed to improving maternal and child health, CHRISTUS Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth completed the Texas Ten Step Star Achiever Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative Cohort B, and the facility continues to pursue Baby-Friendly designation by participating in the EMPower initiative. This team joined EMPower to receive guidance on their journey from experienced coaches, with Julia Bourg and Jill Winkler mentoring the facility on breastfeeding and quality improvement procedures. As part of the EMPower initiative, CHRISTUS Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth aims to achieve sustained and significant increased exclusive breastfeeding rates as a result of successful implementation of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. They would also like to see increased buy in from physicians and staff regarding the long-term benefits of skin-to-skin contact, rooming-in and exclusive breastfeeding. St. Elizabeth continues to collaborate with other facilities going through the same trials and changes as they implement the Ten Steps.
One of St. Elizabeth’s most noteworthy accomplishments involves Step 7, which is to practice rooming-in, allowing mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day. The facility implemented their rooming-in initiative in October 2015, transitioning all newborn care to the mother’s rooms. “Mommy- Baby Nap Time” has been a significant part of their success with the rooming-in initiative. St. Elizabeth created “Mommy-Baby Nap Time” signs that go on the mom’s door, and at 12:45 p.m. each day, an overhead announcement is given to remind visitors of the importance of uninterrupted rest for their new moms and babies. Large posters announcing the “Mommy-Baby Nap Time” are also placed at each elevator on the Maternal Child floor. The team noted that moms have responded very positively about this nap time. In addition, the facility has created and implemented Baby-Friendly recommended staff education materials for facility-wide and maternal child specific topics. Resources developed by the team include skin-to-skin “Golden Hour” door signs, rooming-in posters, “benefits of exclusive breastfeeding” and “donor human milk” parent consent forms, and check-off skills guidelines for annual breastfeeding skills competencies. Resources given to all new mother patients include a prenatal breastfeeding guide and a resource bag. The team also utilizes data collection tools and excel spreadsheets to track patient information for the Ten Steps.
The CHRISTUS Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth team shared, “The main piece of information that we have learned regarding this EMPower collaboration with other hospitals is that we are all facing the same challenges. When we share ideas and information about what worked and what did not work during these huge change endeavors, it makes the whole process less stressful. Secondly, having coaches who have actually achieved the goal that we are pursuing is a huge advantage. Being able to ask specific questions throughout the Baby-Friendly journey is invaluable; each step, each survey, each perceived roadblock…our coaches have an answer or guidance in how to keep moving forward.”
Jill Winkler, the facility’s Quality Improvement Coach, shared, “At the time of our initial visit and meeting at CHRISTUS Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth there was palpable excitement in the air. The team gathered were diverse and represented various areas of the organization. Having already accomplished a great deal of work through the Texas Ten Step initiative, what remained would be the HARD work. That being, the Work of Change. Change of long held behaviors and practices by many involved. As much as the tangible excitement was present, there was also a detectable sense of “Will we be able to accomplish this?” This hospital team has been relentless in its pursuit of excellence through evidence-based practices and are walking the path step-by-step, approaching each challenge through small tests of change utilizing PDSA cycles. They have ‘touched’ every area within and outside their system to ensure mother baby dyads will be provided education from the beginning of a mother’s pregnancy through to support after leaving the hospital. It has been a pleasure to work with CHRISTUS Health Southeast St. Elizabeth as they pursue their Baby-Friendly designation.”
Keep up the fantastic work, CHRISTUS Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth! We are amazed by your dedication to improving the health of mothers and infants and look forward to more innovations from your facility.