Purpose for the Program
Early skin-to-skin contact between a mother and her infant has been studied and shown to improve outcomes for both mother and infant. As a hospital that received the Baby Friendly designation in April 2010, we are well aware of the benefits of skin-to-skin contact. During our journey to become Baby Friendly, the topic of skin-to-skin contact was researched and discussed as we worked to develop a plan to implement skin-to-skin contact at birth. At the time of our site visit, we had successfully implemented skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth for vaginal deliveries and in the recovery room for cesarean deliveries.
As professionals, we are constantly evaluating our practices and looking for ways to improve. During our Baby Friendly journey, there was resistance to the idea of implementing skin-to-skin contact in the operating room (OR) from all disciplines. As time went on, we realized that implementing skin-to-skin contact in the OR was the next step in providing the optimal care for our mothers and infants. To do that, we would need support from all members of the interdisciplinary team.
Implementation, Outcomes, and Evaluation
The first step began with a journal club article and discussion on implementing skin-to-skin contact in the OR. Barriers were identified and a plan to overcome them began. The following week, two staff nurses took it upon themselves to try skin-to-skin contact in the OR to see how it could be done. From there, the topic became an agenda item for further discussion for both the OB service line meeting and the Perinatal Safety and Satisfaction Interdisciplinary Committee. Following that, a presentation was made at the anesthesia service line meeting to provide education and gain their support. We incorporated the topic of skin-to-skin contact into our prenatal breastfeeding classes and the nurses introduced it to the families on admission to the labor and delivery unit. Additionally, changes were made to our electronic medical record to provide documentation of skin-to-skin contact in the OR and allow us to track the data.
Implications for Nursing Practice
Change is difficult for any intervention you are looking to implement. By getting support from all stakeholders throughout the process, keeping everyone engaged, and taking it one step at a time, change is possible. As a result, we have implemented skin-to-skin contact in the OR.