A new approach to caring for tiny babies
‘Couplet care’ lets moms stay in hospital with their premature infants
Premature babies with health problems often end up in neonatal intensive care units, separated from their mothers. This oncestandard practice can be emotionally taxing on mothers and, doctors say, it may not be the best care option for babies.
The infants often stay in the hospital long after their mothers are discharged, which means parents have to travel back and forth to see their children. Intensive care units for babies are often in tight quarters with little privacy, making it hard for mom and child to bond.
As a result, a handful of hospitals are trying to change the culture of neonatal intensive care units and in turn reduce costs and the time it takes babies to recover.
Carroll Hospital Center in Westminster is creating a “couplet care” program that will keep babies in the same room as their mothers rather than in a special nursery. Nurses and other staff will coach mothers on caring for their babies and allow mothers to stay at the hospital until their babies are healthy enough to go home.
Mercy Medical Center started a similar program in 2012 when it opened a new women’s center.
Most hospitals already keep mothers who had healthy deliveries in the same room as their babies, but few hospitals are doing this
Carroll Hospital will break ground in July for an expanded neonatal care unit called Couplet Care, which is expected to be completed in 2019.