West Virginia joins worldwide initiative to decrease maternal hemorrhaging deaths

In response to reports of rising maternal mortality rates across the country, the West Virginia Perinatal Partnership (WVPP) and other organizations across the state are joining with the Alliance for the Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM) and taking action. Along with the WVPP, the West Virginia Hospital Association, the West Virginia Chapter of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the West Virginia Section of Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses and the Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health are launching the first statewide AIM Patient Safety Bundle Initiative.

More than 80 health care providers from around the state will gather in Charleston on March 26 at a meeting to discuss ways to better prepare for maternal hemorrhaging during delivery.

“In West Virginia and across the country, maternal mortality has doubled in the last 15 years,” said Dr. Coy Flowers, Vice Chair of the WV American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “Half of maternal deaths are preventable. That’s why it’s vitally important for all of our state’s delivery hospitals to implement proven evidence-based protocols and to prepare their facilities and staff to handle obstetric emergencies, like hemorrhage.”

The healthcare providers, who represent most of the state’s delivery hospitals, will come together at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park for the day-long meeting. The agenda includes training and a presentation by Dr. M. Kathryn Menard, a Distinguished Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine.

The meeting will serve as the official kick-start for WVPP and AIM’s effort to decrease complications related to excessive bleeding during and after delivery. At the meeting, healthcare providers will be introduced to the “Patient Safety Hemorrhage Bundle Implementation Project,” which includes a checklist of standards that have been proven to decrease the maternal mortality and complication rates.

“We can’t eliminate all obstetric hemorrhages,” said WVPP Nurse Coordinator Melanie Riley. “We aim to increase early recognition, appropriate intervention and reduce complications.”

The Hemorrhage Bundle calls for the following: improved hemorrhage supply carts, hemorrhage risk assessments for all pregnant women, and a more comprehensive hemorrhage protocol to be put in place in each delivery hospital, according to Riley.

The West Virginia Perinatal Partnership is a statewide partnership of healthcare professionals and public and private organizations working to improve perinatal health in West Virginia. Founded in 2006, the Partnership coordinates programs and develops policies to address the state’s health outcomes among mothers and their babies. For more information see http://www.wvperinatal.org/

AIM aligns national, state, and hospital level efforts to improve maternal health and safety. With funding received from the Health Resource Services Administration, AIM provides evidence-based front line resources for birth facilities and provider/public health teams to adapt and implement a series of action steps (bundles) on high risk maternal conditions. For more information see www.safehealthcareforeverywoman.

Contacts:
Melanie Riley, RN at 304-691-1978
Coy Flowers, MD at 304-206-7782

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