INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – The birth of a child is often one of the happiest times in a parent's life, but if some unforeseen complication occurs, Franciscan Health's labor and delivery nurses in Central Indiana have the skills to deal with such situations.
Nurses at Franciscan Health Indianapolis and Franciscan Health Mooresville currently are required to recertify every two years in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS); however, the training doesn't address the unique needs of pregnant and post-partum patients. But that's changing, thanks to a new program.
"The obstetrics-based advanced cardiac life support education (ACLS-OB) ensures the safest care for mothers and babies in the event of heart-related emergencies," said Lori Hardie, RN, MSN, certified health simulation educator who coordinates the ACLS-OB program. "Preparing our OB nurses to safely and effectively respond to and manage these crises is critical."
ACLS-OB training takes place at the Franciscan Health's Simulation Center. The lab provides a realistic environment which resembles the layout and equipment found in labor-and-delivery rooms and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). High-tech, computerized mannequins of mothers and infants serve as the patients.
The course uses the latest evidence-based medicine and the scenarios they encounter are based on records from real clinical cases. The intensive training incorporates a multi-team approach to include both nurses and physicians, and rapid response code teams such as respiratory therapists and other clinicians.
ACLS-OB addresses various urgent medical situations such as maternal cardiopulmonary arrest, uterine-placental emergencies, anesthesia complications and preclampsia/eclampsia –conditions characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system in a patient’s body.
"Cardiac emergencies and life-threatening situations in the OB population continue to spiral upward nationwide," Hardie said. "This training is critical given the opioid crisis that has erupted in Indiana and more women choosing to have babies later in life."
More ominous, too, is that Indiana is among states having the highest infant mortality rates According to a 2017 CDC report, Indiana had 7.3 deaths per 1,000 live births. That's why ACLS-OB training can have a real impact in lowering that number.
Hardie and eight other instructors such as Amanda Gill, RN, began training in late 2017 under the tutelage of Teresa Stanfill, DNP, who pioneered and developed ACLS-OB at St. Luke's Hospital in Boise, Idaho. The program is copyright and trademarked-protected by St. Luke's.
To date, 46 Franciscan OB nurses have completed the course. The Indianapolis hospital also has trained other nurses and clinicians from other facilities and will soon offer the ACLS-OB course to paramedic teams with the Decatur Township and Shelbyville fire departments and Evansville’s Deaconess Hospital.
“Nurses are really treating two patients during the labor and delivery process – the mother and unborn fetus,” said Angela Bratina, MSN, RN, administrative director for the Franciscan Health Center for Women and Children in Indianapolis. "ACLS-OB enables our teams to translate realistic training to real-life emergency life-saving care for our patients."
By Joe Stuteville
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