Baptist Health Medical Center-Arkadelphia At Stage Three Of Four For Baby-Friendly Hospital Designation

ARKADELPHIA, Ark. – In August 2015, Baptist Health Medical Center-Arkadelphia was selected to be among the first hospitals in the nation to join the EMPower Initiative to enhance maternity care practices and work toward achieving the Baby-Friendly USA© designation.

EMPower is a three-year hospital-based quality improvement initiative focusing on maternity practices leading to Baby-Friendly designation. Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, EMPower is aimed at increasing breastfeeding rates throughout the United States and promoting and supporting optimal breastfeeding practices toward the ultimate goal of improving the public’s health.

“There are four stages to becoming a Baby-Friendly designated hospital. Baptist Health Medical Center-Arkadelphia is currently in the third stage of the program which encompasses education for all hospital staff, including physicians, which have direct contact with mothers and babies in the immediate post-partum phase of pregnancy,” said Lindsey Groomes, RN unit manager of Women’s and Children’s Services, BHMC-Arkadelphia. “Staff at the Baptist Health Women’s Clinic will also receive education to assist mothers in the prenatal phase of their pregnancy as well as their post-partum phase of care.”

As part of this effort, Baptist Health Medical Center-Arkadelphia will receive ongoing support in breastfeeding practices from experienced coaches, as well as training and resource support in lactation education. The effort supports evidence-based practices for prenatal and maternity settings known as the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, an effort to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that complete the Ten Steps. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, launched in the United States in 1996, designates as “Baby-Friendly” hospitals that meet the criteria for women to initiate and continue with breastfeeding.

The hospital’s efforts toward receiving the Baby-Friendly designation also support Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Healthy Active Arkansas plan. Baptist Health is part of the consortium to oversee the implementation of the plan.

Baptist Health is the state’s most comprehensive healthcare system. With more than 175 points of access, including eight hospitals, Baptist Health is committed to delivering “All Our Best” in healthcare to Arkansans. For more information Baptist Health, call Baptist Health HealthLine at 1-888-BAPTIST.