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Posts under: Stories from the NICU

Honoring All Those Fighting to Improve the Lives of NICU Babies and Families

September 2018 Blog, Stories from the NICU Comments Off on Honoring All Those Fighting to Improve the Lives of NICU Babies and Families

As Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness Month comes to a close, we’d like to remind everyone of the unique challenges that families, providers, and communities face in caring for premature and medically complex newborns – struggles that often endure well beyond infancy.

The March of Dimes is one of the most widely known and respected charities. They’ve been leading the charge for healthier babies and moms for decades, and their mission is near and dear to our hearts here at ProgenyHealth.  Fighting Premature Birth: The Prematurity Campaign puts focus on many of the issues that we also face in providing care management services for such infants and their families in the first year of life.

According to CDC data as of 2016 cited in the campaign, 9.8% of all births in the US are preterm (<37 weeks gestation). Unfortunately, the rate of such births is growing, and the national opioid epidemic is contributing to the problem. To-date, a single solution has proven elusive. Until one is found, the best approach is a renewed focus on the issue that encompasses its inherent breadth and depth.

Organizations like the March of Dimes understand and embrace this perspective. At ProgenyHealth, we work closely with neonatal intensive care providers in hospitals across the country to ensure the highest clinical standards of care are met and babies are coming home healthy.  But the need for support does not stop at discharge. Many moms and families lack basic necessities of life, compounding the difficulties of caring for an already at-risk infant.

These social determinants of health, rarely discussed in the ongoing debate over healthcare reform, are encountered every day by our Case Managers at ProgenyHealth. These professionals are the primary point of contact with our moms and caregivers, but they work as part of an integrated team that goes into action each time a baby enters the NICU. And the care coordination they provide factors heavily into whether the medical treatment that child received in the first days of life will result in enduring health. Among the many duties they perform, our Case Managers help arrange the services new moms are likely to need – car seats, diapers, education on caring for their infant, scheduling doctor appointments, and the like. But we also provide a lifeline in the most desperate of times – connections to food, shelter, clothing and basic safety resources.

NICU babies are literally born fighters, but they do not fight alone.  At ProgenyHealth, we salute the families, charities, healthcare providers, payers, case managers, social workers, and so many others that join this battle every day. Their dedication to these young infants truly requires more than one month to honor.


Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness Month

September 2017 Blog, Stories from the NICU, The Business of Health Care Comments Off on Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness Month

September is Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness month, an observance designed to honor families experiencing a stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and the health professionals who care for them. In honor of this, we have dedicated the September Blog to the families who have received NICU care coordination services from ProgenyHealth over the past decade.

ProgenyHealth works with providers and families coordinating the care of thousands of infants admitted to the NICU each year. Partnering with health plans across the United States, ProgenyHealth’s team of physicians, NICU nurses, pediatric nurses, and social workers is improving the health outcomes of these medically fragile infants one baby at a time. To illustrate, we share a story of one of our recent cases….. continue reading

Part II: A NICU Infant at Home – One Father’s Story

June 2017 Blog, Stories from the NICU Comments Off on Part II: A NICU Infant at Home – One Father’s Story

As excited as we were to take Koby home and out of the NICU, we missed our nurses. Not only because they were good at what they do and helped keep Koby safe and alive, but they also brought my wife and me so much comfort. Having them available to talk to and encourage us was vital. At first, it was difficult without them and we felt a little extra weight on our shoulders as the reality of caring for Koby on our own set in. Having a child with special needs creates many unique challenges as parents. It was such a relief to have our ProgenyHealth Nurse Case Manager, Melissa, there as a resource to navigate any medical issues that popped up. We were able to focus on Koby and our other children, knowing Melissa would help us quickly address anything we needed. Her assistance was well timed and brought us tremendous relief. continue reading

Part I: A Mother’s NICU Story

May 2017 Blog, Stories from the NICU Comments Off on Part I: A Mother’s NICU Story

I hadn’t been feeling well that day, kind of achy like the flu, but I figured this was the most exhausting Christmas Break on record, and I was 36½ weeks pregnant, so it made sense that I wasn’t feeling that great. I packed lunches and took the kids to the park. I promised that if everyone came when I said it was time to leave we could get dessert on the way home. After the park and on the way home, I was completely wiped out. I asked my oldest daughter to put on a movie for the younger kids while I took a nap. All the while I was beginning to experience persistent low pressure in my back that I wasn’t going to admit was contractions. It was too early for that to be starting.

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Two’s Company and Three’s a Crowd!

April 2017 Blog, Stories from the NICU Comments Off on Two’s Company and Three’s a Crowd!

April is National Multiple Birth Awareness Month. In 2015, multiple births accounted for 3.6% of all live births. Almost half of all twins are born prematurely and/or have low birth weight; 90% of triplet, quadruplet, and quintuplet babies are born prematurely and/or have low birth weight.

As a nurse case manager at ProgenyHealth, I enjoy helping new parents of multiples work through their own challenges. I recently had the privilege of providing case management to a family with triplets. Alexander, Belle, and Christopher were born at 26 weeks and they each weighed about two pounds. continue reading

A ProgenyHealth Nurse Case Manager’s Tips for NICU Parents

November 2016 Blog, Stories from the NICU Comments Off on A ProgenyHealth Nurse Case Manager’s Tips for NICU Parents

As we observe Prematurity Awareness Month, one of our nurse case managers shares her tips for parents whose babies are admitted to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or special care nursery as a result of their premature birth or medically complex condition.

Natalie has been a Registered Nurse for 22 years and 16 of those years were spent in the NICU. Her job was to care for babies that should have been safe and growing in their mother’s womb.  Natalie recalls some preterm babies being so small that they could fit in the palm of your hand. Natalie said that it is so rewarding to help a baby born this small survive, and months later see them go home with their parents. She not only helped tiny premature and medically complex babies survive, but she also supported their families during their child’s NICU stay.  It was her passion to help these families that brought her to ProgenyHealth as a NICU Case Manager.  The NICU is a challenging, very fast paced environment making it difficult for many parents. Here are some things that Natalie learned through her many years in the NICU that she shares with families during what can be one of the most stressful times in their life: continue reading

NICU Dad Pays-“IT”-Forward

June 2016 Blog, Stories from the NICU Comments Off on NICU Dad Pays-“IT”-Forward

Author: Jim Clarke, Senior Manager of Information Technology

As we approach Father’s Day this weekend, I pause to reflect on how blessed I am to be the father of two happy, healthy toddlers; Jimmy (age 4) and Johnny (age 3).  The boys are always full of surprises, however, the biggest surprise as a [soon-to-be] parent was having experienced the NICU not once, but twice. continue reading

At ProgenyHealth, NICU means Neonatal Intensive Collaboration Unit!

May 2016 Blog, Health Management, Stories from the NICU Comments Off on At ProgenyHealth, NICU means Neonatal Intensive Collaboration Unit!

What is collaboration? Wikipedia defines it as the process of two or more people or organizations working together to realize shared goals. Central to successful collaboration is identification of a common purpose, the shared goal that everyone on the team is working towards.

At ProgenyHealth our mission clearly defines that common purpose:

With passion and a singular focus, we improve the health outcomes of premature and medically complex newborns through provider collaboration and parental engagement.

From the moment a newborn is referred to ProgenyHealth, the family is surrounded by dedicated health care professionals whose focus is supporting them through this difficult time while maximizing their newborn’s health outcomes. This is accomplished through directing the efficient use of clinical resources in a manner that promotes quality health care.

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A Safe Passage from the NICU to Home: The Importance of Health Literacy and Discharge Instructions

March 2016 Blog, Stories from the NICU Comments Off on A Safe Passage from the NICU to Home: The Importance of Health Literacy and Discharge Instructions

Nearly half of all US adults have difficulty understanding and using health information. To the nurses at ProgenyHealth, health literacy is the ability of parents whose newborn(s) are in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to attain, process, and understand health information and services needed to make informed decisions.

One issue healthcare is faced with is whether parents truly understand the discharge instructions and are able to apply the information provided to them once they are in the home setting. Taking an infant home is an anxious time for parents and limited parent/caregiver health literacy can result in increased stress and poor compliance with discharge instructions. Poor health literacy among parents can lead to increased infant mortality and morbidity along with increased cost of healthcare after discharge, especially with infants who have complex medical issues. If not appropriately prepared for discharge, limited literacy leads to increased hospitalizations, errors with medication administration, less knowledge of disease management and health promoting behaviors. Additionally caregivers are less likely to follow the discharge plan or use preventative services.

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World Prematurity Day: A Strategy to Impact Care & Costs

November 2015 Blog, Health Management, Stories from the NICU, The Business of Health Care 1 comment

November is Prematurity Awareness Month and today marks World Prematurity Day, where various organizations focus the nation’s attention on premature birth. According to the CDC, last year one in every nine babies was born premature in the United States. That’s approximately 450,000 babies each year.

Premature birth is a major driver of health insurance costs. In 2007, the Institute of Medicine reported that the cost associated with medical and health care services for preterm infants was $16.9 billion, with more than 85 percent of those medical care services delivered in infancy. Comparatively, the average medical cost for a healthy baby is $4,389, but for a premature baby it jumps to $54,194. That is a considerable difference. One strategy to reduce costs is to work with a team of NICU experts who can manage the ongoing care management needs of these high risk infants and their families. At ProgenyHealth, we feel that there is a significant opportunity to simultaneously improve outcomes and reduce the costs to the health care system.

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