Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, N.C., entered the third phase of its Relationship-Based Care project late last year, and RNs from its Womens Hospital of Greensboro pulled out all the stops over the past few months to bring the benefits of RBC to patients and family members. On the NICU, the game plan included presenting families with unique journals that document the progress of the hospitals youngest patients.Journals are personalized for each patient.
The journals include daily accounts of infants first days, and sometimes months, of life when the hospital was their home.
When writing in the journal, a nurse will share milestones and progress for the day, addressing the baby directly, saying, for example, Baby Sammy, you took your first bottle today, and whatever else happened that day, says Helen Mabe, RNC-NIC, MHA, director of neonatal intensive care. Family members can write stories and thoughts in the journal, as well.
Besides day-to-day accounts of the infants stay, the journal becomes a precious keepsake that holds invaluable items such as footprints, handprints, petite diapers and tiny blood pressure cuffs.
We also have NICU nannies, volunteers, who help decorate the journals, she says.
The idea for the journals became popular even before it was implemented. We didnt have a budget for the program, but hospital staff knew of our intention to start the program, and we received an anonymous donation of 60 journals to get us started. Since then, weve gifted about 400 families with journals so far.
The journaling program went live last November and has received rave reviews from both staff and patients families, including helping to net a patient satisfaction score of 99.07 for the month of May.
This is a direct result of this program, Mabe says.
But the journaling is just one aspect of the NICUs RBC project, which begins from Day 1 of an infants admission to the unit when he or she is assigned a lead nurse. Becoming a lead nurse is not a mandatory position, although the admitting RN usually signs up to take the helm. He or she remains assigned to the baby until discharge. The lead nurse coordinates all care and sees to the familys needs.
RBC also keeps parents involved as much as possible by allowing them to attend rounds and hear about the plan of care. Also, nurses hold shift reports in patient rooms, so family members are included.
This makes everything really transparent, says Mabe, which increases the trust level between family and staff.
The NICU nurses are enjoying their station as lead nurses, Mabe says. They grow close to these patients and like the huge role they play in their care, she says.
This is the third year of the implementation process of the RBC project, which involves three important philosophies care for yourself, care for patients and care for others. The hospital plans to implement the program at all Moses Cone Health System campuses in the region within five years.