Saint Vincent Hospital launches 'Team Birth' initiative

Apr 12, 2023

WORCESTER, Mass. - A new program at Saint Vincent Hospital is working to improve communication in the hospital's labor and delivery department.

Leadership at Saint Vincent announced Monday the launch of "Team Birth." The program is described as “structured huddles” between the birthing person, nurses and all members of the patient's support and clinical team.

Ariadne Labs, the program's creator, said the goal is to ensure these practices are occurring reliably with all patients throughout every labor.

"Maternity can be the happiest day of people's lives, but it also can be extremely scary and there's a lot of anxiety and fear related to childbirth,” said Kasey Wild, nurse manager in the labor and delivery department. “And 80 to 90 percent of events actually come back to failure of communication and poor teamwork, so by doing this whole initiative on teamwork, we're hoping to reduce those poor events and improve patient's experience and give them the childbirth experience that they'll love."

"We're excited to be able to have a resource that is going to help improve patient experience, and also improve maternal morbidity, mortality and overall health outcomes," said Dr. Michele Sinopoli, the hospital’s chief medical officer.

The program was piloted with ten hospitals last year. Saint Vincent is in the second group of ten in Massachusetts using the program.

The infant mortality rate in the city of Worcester, while holding steady, is above-average in the state, according to a report from the Worcester Healthy Baby Collaborative.

The group presented at the board of health meeting last week. They said the city is averaging roughly 5 deaths per 1,000 live births, while the state's rate is less than 4 per 1,000.

Infant mortality is described as the death of a child before their first birthday. The group said the rate is an important indicator of maternal and child health, but is also a factor in the city's overall health.

"In 2021, all of the infant deaths occurred in the neonatal period before four weeks of age,” said Dr. Mukti Kulkarni, assistant professor at UMass Chan Medical School. “Most of the deaths were due to congenital anomalies and/or extreme prematurity. Notably, all but one of the mothers were born outside of the 50 United States."

Springfield's infant mortality rate was slightly higher than Worcester's. The report goes on to say Worcester's Black and Hispanic mothers have higher than average rates, averaging roughly 7.5 deaths per 1,000 births and 5 deaths per 1,000 births, respectively.

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