NWTH moves to 'couplet care'

The days of a labor and delivery nursery are over, at least at Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo.

Charge Nurse Catherine Stout said it's something the hospital has been preparing to do for months now.

"This has been implemented nation wide in several facilities and hospitals." Stout said. "We are the first in our community to do this."

The decision became final this summer after doctors at the hospital learned that healthy babies could be at mom's bedside directly after labor.

"There is evidence, base practice out there that shows that the mother does rest more peacefully with the baby in the room," she said.

Nurse Manager Norma Pina-Smith sais all staff nurses were required to take training classes in order to provide mom and baby with couplet-care.

"Several doctors taught classes, some of our nurse educators taught classes," Pina-Smith said. "So we just made sure that everybody had the skills and the competencies necessary to take care of their patients."

Pina-Smith said every couplet is assigned a primary nurse and everything from breast feeding to bathing the new born are taught at bedside. She said before this model, dad's were the first to bathe the baby, now mom's can be apart of these first time experiences.

"The physicians, the nurses, and everything that the patients need to be cared for and done in the room."