Christmas in July: Bringing Christmas to the NICU Every Day
An amazing phenomenon occurs in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) as Christmas approaches. Most neonatologists in the hospital will tell you that invariably the Average Length of Stay (ALOS) goes down by a few days. Some doctors have confirmed that, when appropriate, they even promise families that they will do their best to get their baby home by Christmas. Why does this happen? Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you can appreciate that the holiday season creates a sense of urgency. When the family, providers and other support staff are equally motivated and effectively communicating, care becomes more efficient. The sense of urgency allows the family to be more receptive to the education we provide as we ready them to care for their newborn. People work together for a worthy goal: making it possible for the family to celebrate the holidays together with their newest family member.
The resulting shorter ALOS when translated across the population amounts to significant cost savings and improved member experience. Progeny NICU nurses are trained to foster this sense of urgency and support the inpatient teams and family so their infant comes home sooner, so in a sense, we believe every day is Christmas! Their proactive conversations ensure that appropriate opportunities for efficiency can be gained. Our neonatologists share data in support of best practices that reduce variations in care. Our case managers connect with the families soon after birth to educate them in their new role, help them understand the transition of care to the home setting, and continue to coach and support them through the first year of life. The whole process functions better when the Progeny team works collaboratively with hospitals and families in this supportive role.
ProgenyHealth has demonstrated (with documented results) over the past decade that when we have proactive conversations with providers and the families of fragile newborns, quality improves and the cost of health care services naturally decreases.
So, even though it’s only July, it is possible to spread a little of the magic and joy of Christmas through care coordination to our tiny NICU graduates and their families.
About Our Authors:
- Marcia Wasserman is the Director of Strategic Accounts at ProgenyHealth. She is a dynamic and accomplished professional with a proven track record creating business partnerships with a focus on improving health outcomes.
- Ellen Stang, MD, is a board certified pediatrician and the founder and CEO of ProgenyHealth. She has received many awards and recognitions for her work and most recently was named the 2013 Gold Winner for Female Entrepreneur of the Year at the 10th Annual International Stevie Awards for Women in Business. She is dedicated to improving care management and health outcomes for premature and medically complex newborns.