EMPower Hospital Spotlight: Northwest Health System – Willow Creek Women’s Hospital
Willow Creek Women’s Hospital is located in Johnson, Arkansas, a town of approximately 3,500 residents just outside of Fayetteville in the far Northwest corner of the state. Nestled on a plateau in the Ozark Mountains, the community of Johnson is multi-ethnic, with a broad range of socioeconomic status levels. Committed to improving patients’ health, Willow Creek applied and was selected into the EMPower Breastfeeding initiative, which provides support and technical assistance to help hospitals adopt the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and ultimately achieve Baby-Friendly designation. The facility entered the initiative while in the D2 Development Phase of Baby-Friendly USA’s 4-D Pathway, and since then, Willow Creek has taken full advantage of the individualized coaching and mentoring offered throughout the initiative, and has benefited from the financial incentives as well. Through EMPower and the journey to Baby-Friendly, Willow Creek aims to improve health outcomes in their community through improving the number of mothers who exclusively breastfeed their baby. They also hope to succeed in raising awareness about breastfeeding in the community of Northwest Arkansas and increasing the support that breastfeeding women are able to receive.
Since starting the implementation of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, Willow Creek has seen a significant rise in their exclusive breastfeeding rates (now at 84%) coupled with an amazing improvement in overall patient satisfaction. They work very closely with their local breastfeeding coalition and have made strides with community engagement. “Willow Creek continues to work collaboratively with community providers and organizations to ensure that mothers receive ongoing support and continuity of care,” said Julia Bourg, the facility’s Breastfeeding Coach for the EMPower initiative. One achievement they have been able to share with other hospitals in the EMPower initiative is the educational slides they developed for all 15 categories outlined by the WHO/UNICEF 20-hour training program requirement.
This facility is very close to becoming designated! They have recently had their site visit assessment from Baby-Friendly representatives and are anxiously awaiting to hear the results. Willow Creek hopes to be a trend setter for all Arkansas healthcare facilities, encouraging them to adapt best-practices for both the mother and infant. Great job, Willow Creek! We hope to celebrate with you very soon!
[5/3/16 Update: Willow Creek’s commitment to maternal and child health has paid off! They are now a Baby-Friendly designated facility and are the first hospital in Arkansas to reach designation. Congratulations to the marvelous team at Willow Creek! Your Breastfeeding and Quality Improvement Coaches, Julia Bourg and Allison Godwin, and the rest of the EMPower team are very proud of your accomplishment!]