Veldhoven, The Netherlands – Maxima Medical Center (Veldhoven, The Netherlands) and Royal Philips Electronics today announced that a major milestone has been reached in the realization of a unique new mother and child care concept. Premature babies currently receiving care at the medical center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) will from today be moved to new accommodation in the Woman-Mother-Child center in the Maxima Medical Center in Veldhoven.
Relocation of these very young, very fragile, babies is newsworthy in itself. But what makes it even more special is that from now on, the treatment of these premature babies and their recovering mothers will be fully integrated. It will now be possible to keep mothers and their newborn babies together for treatment and nursing care. Up until now, mothers have tended to stay on the obstetric ward and their babies were sent to a pediatric ward. This new concept of fully integrated mother and child care is one of the first in Europe and is the result of a close collaboration between the hospital and Philips.
“It has been medically proven that mothers and their babies recover better if they can be treated together¹,” explains Dr. Thilo Mohns, Head of the Department for Pediatrics and Neonatology at the Maxima Medical Center. “The biological bond should not be severed simply because the medical care that hospitals provide is organized on departmental grounds rather than around the patients.”
As logical as that may seem, the practical realization of integrated mother and child care is extremely complex. It not only means fitting out the accommodation appropriately, but also putting the necessary technology in place, and equipping and training the hospital staff on evidence-based clinical practices for the NICU, also known as developmental care.
Care normally has to be organized to fit into existing accommodation. In the case of the Woman-Mother-Child center, the reverse is true: the accommodation has been purpose built to support the care processes.
The success of the concept also depends on the availability of customized technology solutions. Each room is a flexible care environment that can be adapted at any time. This allows mother and child to stay in the same room, with the medical technology configured in response to individual patient needs, even when the very advanced care is required.
A vital aspect of that care is monitoring of the infant’s condition. An integrated monitoring system designed by Philips has been implemented, making it possible to care for mother and infant in a private room instead of in a conventional centralized Neonatal Intensive Care Unit setting. The new system brings together all the available information the hospital has about the infant (vital signs, lab results, medical images, medication, planned medical treatment, etc.) and makes it easily accessible to the baby’s caregivers. Staff can then spot the slightest change immediately, and respond appropriately.
“As a health and well-being company, we naturally support this new mother and child concept since it’s an opportunity to apply technological innovation to address specific needs of babies and more closely involve their families,,” says David Russell, General Manager of Mother & Child Care at Philips Heathcare. “We want to allow providers to deliver complex care to mothers and babies in a manner that satisfies the individual and developmental needs of every newborn.”
The Máxima Medical Center and Philips have combined their knowledge of innovative, clinically proven solutions to provide the broadest range of support. The staff also put the interest of their patients first. Both nurses and medical specialists visit the patients, instead of the patients having to go to more than one department. The presence of light and sound in the Woman-Mother-Child center has been analyzed and these potentially disturbing elements have been adapted to the needs and the day-night rythm of the newborns.
“The realization of the Woman-Mother-Child center has been a major undertaking, and we are certainly proud of the result,” says Dr. Mohns. “But most importantly, we are looking forward to seeing families benefitting every day from this new approach to mother and child care”.
¹ Shields et al. (2007); Family-centered care for children in hospital (Review): The Cochrane Library 2007; issue 1.