At Children’s Hospital Central California, our patients come first. From the moment a newborn or child enters our care, it is the goal of the health care team to preserve the quality and life of each child. Oftentimes those patients are transported to Children’s from near and far and our success is attributed not only to our transport team members but also to the healthcare providers on the front lines who may be encountering the patient prior to their admission to Children’s.
For just over a year, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit has been developing a formalized program of outreach education. This program was designed to enhance services provided in the 45,000 square mile region we serve and to ultimately improve the quality of care received by neonates in collaboration with referring facilities. This is done through several program components including the following:
- Assessment of neonatal education needs with annual site visits to referring facilities
- Developing individualized curriculum in accordance with the facilities educational needs
- Provision of didactic and clinical skill courses related to comprehensive neonatal care
- Evaluation of learning through ongoing assessment of shared patient outcomes
Research has shown that the implementation of an outreach education program is an essential component to the regionalization of perinatal care which has been attributed to much of the decline in perinatal/neonatal mortality over the past 20 years.1 In addition, intervention with outreach education has also been shown to be a cost-effective way to improve care within a patient population.2 For example, one study conducted in Iowa proved that statistically significant improvements were made over time in assisted ventilation, hypoglycemia screening, temperature maintenance, and record documentation following the implementation of site visits, scheduled education, and follow-up, all of which are components of our current Neonatal Outreach Education Program.3
It is our hope that the strides we make today through outreach education, also being implemented in other areas of the organization including pediatric, physician and community outreach, will help to sustain Children’s recognition as the Number One resource for pediatric and neonatal education within the entire Central Valley region and beyond.
1. Kattwinkel, J., Nowacek G., Cook, L.J., Pietrzyk, J., Borkowski V., Karasinska-Urbanik O., Molicki J., Godlewska Z., Rozanski B., (2007). A regionalized perinatal continuing education program: successful adaptation to a foreign healthcare system and language. Medical Education, 31(3), 210-218.
2. Fairall, L., Bachmann, M.O., Zwarenstein, M., Bateman, E.D., Niessen, L.W., Lombard, C., Majara, B., English, R., Bheekie A., Van Rensburg, D., Mayers, P., Peters, A., & Chapman R., (2010). Cost-effectiveness of education outreach to primary care nurses to increase tuberculosis case detection and improve respiratory care: economic evaluation alongside a randomized trial. Tropical Medicine and International Health, 15(3), 277-286.
3. Heim, H.A., & Lathrop, S.S., (1989). The Iowa hospital visitation program: does outreach education affect management of neonatal resuscitation. Journal of Rural Health, 5(4), 371-386.