PROUD PARENTS are able to view their new offspring through the spacious windows of Norwood Hospital’s West Wing nursery. Here, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Cosgrove of Norwood admire their fifth son, Patrick A., born March 25. Mr. Cosgrove is district manager for Howe-Richardson Scale Company. Joan Fairbanks, R. N., shows the baby.

“The Norwood Hospital’s modern maternity department has proven to be an overwhelming success,” so states Charles A. Richardson, administrator. This fact is based on hundreds of comments received from mothers in the Hospital’s service area.

“Beginning shortly after the new maternity floor was opened last autumn, both verbal and written compliments have been flowing in,” said Mr. Richardson, Chief source of the reactions to the expanded and modernized facilities is the returned questionnaires which are given, routinely to all adult patients upon admission to the Hospital.

Many remarks are about the cheerful new surroundings. Some of them are: “Restful atmosphere . . . lovely rooms . . . quiet . . . nice view . . . cheerful quarters . . . more conveniences . . . new wing is wonderful . . . atmosphere conducive to restful recovery.” Patients indicated approval of “electric beds . . . television and electronic nurse call system . . . babies on view in the new nurseries . . . new bathrooms.”

One criticism the Hospital has received, according to Mr. Richardson, is the lack of private room facilities in the maternity department. “This situation will soon be eliminated upon completion of renovation work in the connecting South Wing,” he explained.

When commenting about the staff, the mothers had this to say: “pleasant and friendly nurses . . . genuine interest for patients . . . personal attention . . . helpful, understanding nurses . . . cooperative staff . . . kindness ” Other factors the patients felt strongly enough to write about were: “cleanliness . . . efficiency . . . very good service . . . well-staffed nursery . . . and, superb food.” Said one patient of the Hospital’s menu, “The food cannot be topped—even by some of the finest restaurants.”

The self-mailer questionnaire is designed to elicit patients’ responses about the quality of service and care received during hospitalization. Sometimes a questionnaire is returned containing a suggestion and often is put into effect.

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For example, many patients said that visiting hours were too short. As a result, visiting hours in the maternity department will be lengthened beginning April 1. Maternity patients may have visitors from 11 a.m. to 12 noon, 2 to 4 p.m., and 7 to 9 p.m., a total increase of two hours. “The 11 to 12 visiting period,” said Mr. Richardson, “is for the convenience of fathers with irregular work
schedules who find it difficult to see their wives and babies.”

The enlarged and modernized maternity department now includes two labor rooms of three beds each, three delivery rooms, and a four-bed recovery room, all located in the delivery suite. With the completion of private and two bedrooms, the unit will have a total of 39 beds. The department also includes four regular nurseries, a premature nursery, and a suspect nursery, with a total of 42 bassinets.

Also located in the nursery section, are the bottle washing room and the formula preparation room where formulas are prepared according to the pediatrician’s prescription. After bottling and capping, the formulas are subject to a terminal sterilization procedure using steam under pressure The process eliminates the infection hazard normally associated with the preparation of infants’ formulas.

Procedures Costly

“The responsibility of the Hospital,” said Mr. Richardson, “is to provide the very best of care using the latest techniques and procedures for the protection of the newborn.” Apart from professional nursing care around the clock and the terminal sterilization of formulas, babies are protected from infection by a number of other rigid and costly procedures. One of these, explained Mr. Richardson, is the “merry-go-round” system.

When a new infant is taken home from a nursery, the empty bassinet is not again occupied until the last baby is discharged from that nursery and the room and its contents are completely cleaned and sanitized, according to stringent regulations. In this way, each nursery is regularly retired from service for a thorough cleaning.

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“There is no question that procedures such as these are costly in terms of equipment and labor expended,” said Mr. Richardson, “but they do save lives. No one will argue that the hospital should cut corners to keep the cost down when the life of a newborn is at stake.

“In order to maintain this standard of excellence,” he continued, “the patient must be willing to assume the responsibility for the – costs involved. This is true not only for the maternity department but for every department that makes up the hospital.

“In other words, total hospital charges equal total hospital costs. The money the hospital must spend to maintain its high standards of service and care must be replenished in equal amount by the patients using these services It’s a matter of simple mathematics,” he concluded.

Based on the current birth rate in the greater Norwood area, the hospital is engaged in projecting its maternity care program in anticipation of 2,000 births in the next 12 months. Included in the farsighted planning is the provision for sufficient equipment, supplies, personnel, and an adequate operating budget to meet the baby boom.

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