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Greene Co. Hospital To Offer "Sweet Dreams Baby Bundle" To Qualifying Mothers
Updated January 21, 2015 7:50 AM | Filed under: Health
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(GREENE CO.) - Thanks to grant funding received from UDWI REMC by the Greene County General Hospital Foundation, mothers who complete a continuum of prenatal care and deliver at Greene County General Hospital will be sent home upon delivery with a Sweet Dreams Baby Bundle in hopes of reducing Indiana's infant mortality rate.

The bundles will consist of a sturdy, flame-retardant material that is lined with a mattress, waterproof cover and cotton sheet. To promote safe sleeping, it can also be utilized as a bassinet. Items, such as onesies, diapers, blankets and educational documents covering topics such as tobacco cessation and safe sleep practices will also be included in the bundles.

"Greene County has been identified to have a high rate of infant mortality," said Greene County General Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Lea Ann Camp. "Greene County General Hospital's Sweet Dreams Baby Bundle is modeled after the Finland Baby Box program developed in 1938 to help decrease infant mortality in that country."

In 1938, Finland's infant mortality, or death before a child's first birthday, rate was 65 deaths per 1,000 births. That year, new mothers in Finland began receiving baby boxes - lined with a mattress and filled with clothes, blankets and other newborn necessities. In 2013, the country's infant mortality rate was 3 deaths per 1,000 births.

Infant mortality rates in Indiana are exceptionally high with 6.7 deaths per 1,000 infants. According to the most recent data provided by the Indiana State Health Department, Indiana's infant mortality ranked 39h nationally. From 2003-2012, an average of 654 infants died each year in Indiana.

Unfortunately, locally the counties of Greene, Clay, Owen, Pike, Putnam and Vermillion exceed the state incidence rate according to a study conducted by Indiana State University. Decreased and late prenatal care along with high prenatal smoking rates - 27.8 percent in Greene County compared to a state average of 17.1 percent - is driving organizations to offer incentives to increase prenatal care compliance.

"Because of Indiana's high infant mortality rates, our organization believes it is important to make a positive impact in our state and community. Greene County Hospital is excited to begin this program to encourage, acknowledge, and reward early and regular prenatal care, teach safe sleep practices, and encourage smoking cessation," said OB Nurse Manager Teresa Hutton. "These objectives are in alignment with the State of Indiana's 'Labor of Love - Helping Indiana Reduce Infant Death' campaign goals and initiatives. The Sweet Dreams Baby Bundles will not only provide a safe infant sleep area, they will also provide several baby care items and resource/instructional information for mothers. We are grateful to be the recipient of the REMC grant to launch this project."

Grant funding of $1,500 will assist in the purchase of 50 Sweet Dreams Baby Bundles.

"We are very excited to be able to soon offer this at our hospital. This was started long ago in Finland and proved to be a huge success. Being able to provide this allows each child born to get the essentials that they will initially need," said Melissa Abbott, Director of Quality Improvement.

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