Submitted by Erika Hall, consultant, Communications and Public Affairs

Dedicated midwives are providing patients with exceptional care at home and with weekly clinical visits at the Surrey Memorial Hospital Family Birthing Unit.

Photo: “I would recommend this program to anyone, especially first-time parents,” says Maricor Dela Cruz. Maricor and family benefited from the Surrey Memorial Hospital Families and Babies Program.

There are few things as exciting as welcoming a newborn baby into your family. With Surrey Memorial Hospital's new Families and Babies program, families get to cherish those exciting moments in the comfort of their homes, sooner.

The program connects families with midwives at Surrey Memorial Hospital who provide resources, education and support. They also consider cultural practices that may impact a family’s early postpartum period, whether it is respecting and understanding a family’s tradition to stay at home, having babies wear specific religious symbols or specific foods a new parent should eat.

These midwife supports, including in-home and clinical visits, help ease families' transitions to home and provide critical early-days support that can help them return home sooner after the birth of their baby.

In its first month, our new Families and Babies Program reduced the average length of post-birth hospital stays. Hospital stays of patients who had caesarean sections have been reduced to less than two days from three days, and hospital stays of patients who had vaginal births have been reduced to one day from a two-day stay.

The program not only reduces families’ length of stay in hospital, but also improves access and flow in the Family Birthing Unit, giving more patients access to the right care, in the right care setting, at the right time.

“I feel incredibly honored to be a part of the postpartum journey with families,” shared Brianna Lowen, midwife, Families and Babies Program. “We understand the importance of respecting and acknowledging a family's cultural beliefs, preferences and values.”

For midwives, it’s about providing personalized care that meets each patient’s individual, unique needs. For example, some parents may practice a Chinese tradition of “rooming-in for 40 days.” Midwives respect this by adjusting the format of their visit to connect virtually with parents while other family members bring the newborn to the clinic for assessment and weight checks.

“Our goal is to create a nurturing environment that promotes the well-being of both the parent and the newborn, not only physically but also emotionally, psychologically and socially,” says Lowen.

Sometimes, patients are apprehensive about being discharged from hospital to community care; however, feedback from families who have been through this program so far have said it was a seamless transition.

By offering regular check-ups with midwives like Lowen, patients receive personalized advice from experts in after-birth care, providing reassurance during the critical period after birth.

“I would recommend this program to anyone, especially first-time parents,” says Maricor Dela Cruz. “It was an awesome experience for me. I appreciated having a support system that could answer any questions and provide guidance on aspects of early parenting.”

The Families and Babies Program is part of the work underway at Surrey Memorial Hospital to expand and enhance health care in Surrey.

To learn more about how we are transforming health care in Surrey, visit the webpage here.

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