EL DORADO - Medical Center of South Arkansas (MCSA) has announced that it is joining the Arkansas Children's Hospital (ACH) Nursery Alliance in a move that will directly coordinate care between neonatologists at ACH's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and physicians at MCSA in El Dorado. The collaboration elevates neonatal care for the region's newborns and addresses one of the state's most vexing health problems: infant mortality. For every 1,000 babies born in the state, eight die before their first birthdays.
Through the Arkansas Children's Nursery Alliance agreement, ACH will support MCSA to help ensure the care families count on close to home will continue in the nursery. The arrangement will include formal processes for coordinating care prior to transport, including elevating care to a higher level if a baby's condition requires it. In addition, families will have access to post discharge follow-up by monitoring and measuring late morbidities through an expanded High Risk Newborn Clinic network.
The neonatal period is specific to the first four weeks after birth (neonate or newborn), a time when changes happen rapidly. Many critical changes can occur in this period: Feeding patterns are established; bonding between parents and infant begin; the risk of infections that may become more serious are higher; and many birth or congenital defects are first noted. This care is usually centered on newborn infants with a range of problems, varying between prematurity, birth defects, infection, cardiac malformations and surgical problems.
Through the alliance, neonatologists at ACH also will provide educational support, quality data review and implementation of best practices to physicians and staff at MCSA. The alliance also provides training through telemedicine for the purpose of enhancing neonatal care and creates support as needed to help the babies at MCSA or at ACH get the best care possible.
MCSA Women's Center has five labor, delivery and recovery rooms; 14 postpartum rooms and a 12-station well-baby nursery and specialty care nursery for 1500 gram babies or greater or 32-week babies. The Women's Center provides HUGS Infant Security for continuous monitoring of infants, a lactation consultant on staff and on-call and all obstetric nurses are trained in Advanced Fetal Monitoring. The staff is trained in neonatal resuscitation program (NRP), all nursery nurses are S.T.A.B.L.E. certified and the unit is Safe Sleep Certified.
MCSA is the fifth hospital member of the ACH Nursery Alliance, which was established in 2016 when Conway Regional Health System joined as the first hospital member. Arkansas Children's Hospital operates the state's only designated Level IV NICU (100 beds), the highest level of acute care, and has access to pediatric specialists from all disciplines.