Inuvik obstetric team wins North American award

Inuvik obstetric team wins North American award
A handful of Inuvik Regional Hospital’s obstetric team pose to celebrate the hospital’s completion of Salus Global’s MORE OB program in 2012. Back, left to right: Salus Global Representative Julie Fisher, Valerie Jefferd Moore, Debbie MacDonald and Sara Dares. Front row, left to right: Jennifer Picek, Megan Nicholson, Lisa Burns, Judy Symes, Joanne Engram and Ruth Robertson.Photo courtesy of Joanne Engram.

Applause is in order for the Inuvik Regional Hospital obstetric team of physicians and nurses after winning the distinguished Salus Global Patient Safety Award for their work with the popular MORE (Managing Obstetrical Risk Efficiently) OB program, a decade-old patient safety improvement and professional development program for those working in hospital obstetrics units across North America.

Inuvik’s team was recognized for “great leadership for their exceptional efforts in teamwork in the adoption of the MORE OB program,” a press release stated.

“This award is a great example of how our staff manage our resources to work together to achieve the best possible outcome for our patients,” Beaufort-Delta Health and Social Services (BDHSSA) Authority CEO Ruth Robertson added in the release.

The award is presented to only three maternity teams in North America each year on behalf of Salus Global, a company dedicated to delivering patient safety solutions. Other 2012 winners included Windsor Regional Hospital in Windsor, Ont. and St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, New York.

Inuvik Hospital enrolled and completed the MORE OB program in 2012 to become an accredited facility.

It went on to become the only hospital in the NWT that adopted the MORE OB program into specific bi-weekly prenatal “rounds” to better serve the needs of pregnant women in the Beaufort-Delta region, Joanne Engram, director of client services with the Inuvik Regional Hospital, told The Journal.

“Once a patient shows up at the hospital in active labour, then the MORE OB program kicks in. So really the program is only for those women who are having babies within the next 24 hours. What our particular team recognized was that when patients came to us, we saw real patterns…such as many missing bloodwork or medical issues that were not followed up on the way they needed to be,” Engram said. “I think in part this was because we’ve been so locum-driven for the past four years – we only have one permanent physician.”

Some patients were reporting seeing up to 28 different practitioners during one pregnancy, Engram said.

“Can you imagine being a woman and going in and telling your story 28 times? It’s not cool.”

A multi-disciplinary team at the hospital determined it was time to “take responsibility for the pregnant women of the region,” Engram said.

“We decided to discuss as a hospital group once a week every single woman who is pregnant at 36 weeks. We developed a standard care plan for every obstetrics patient,” she said.

“That’s now evolved into twice a week discussions and everyone in the hospital, even those in emergency who don’t typically deliver babies, is aware of the pregnant women in the region and what problems they have, if there’s social issues, if it’s a healthy pregnancy, if the mom is planning to do an adoption, so that when you go in the room with the mother, she doesn’t have to discuss it again.”

If the pregnancy is high-risk, the team begins regularly discussing that patient at 19 weeks instead of the standard 36.

Additionally, the specialized prenatal “rounds” of discussion have improved staff communication and other aspects of obstetric care, such as what happens at the standard 18 week ultrasound appointment, Engram said.

“When they come in for this appointment, we now want them to see a nutritionist, we want them to see a diabetes educator (and the physician) if there’s diabetes, and this is not something we’ve done in the past, but it has just evolved into just fabulous labour and delivery and obstetric care in the region.”

The hospital’s obstetric patient satisfaction rate has increased to 97 per cent, Engram noted.

Dr. Peter Boronowski and Lisa Burns, co-chairs of the MORE OB team, will accept the award on behalf of obstetric staff at the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada’s annual clinical meeting in Calgary in June.

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