Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Accepts Global Kangaroo Care Challenge

CHATHAM-KENT: May 3, 2017 – Chatham-Kent Health Alliance’s (CKHA) Women and Children’s Program has accepted the global Kangaroo Challenge in support of skin-to-skin care and its healing benefits for premature infants and their families. The Kangaroo Challenge, facilitated by Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in partnership with the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation, encourages hospitals from across the globe to work with families to increase skin-to-skin care for all infants, with a focus on premature infants in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU). 
“We are thrilled to be participating in this fun and informative challenge,” said Jill Cousins, Clinical Manager, CKHA’s Women and Children’s Program. “Kangaroo care is quickly becoming best practice and has many proven benefits to both baby and family. We are looking forward to working with families on our unit to increase skin-to-skin time as well as educating on its positive benefits.”
Mike (L) and his daughter Emelia participate in the Kangaroo Challenge in CKHA’s Women and Children’s Program on May 3, 2017. The global challenge encourages hospitals with Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) to increase skin-to-skin care time with premature infants and their families and provide education about its numerous benefits. 
Skin-to-skin care, also known as “kangaroo care”, is the practice of holding an infant dressed in only a diaper against the bare chest of a parent or family member and is beneficial and safe for almost every infant. Kangaroo care has steadily become best practice for premature infants due to its healing benefits for both infant and family. Recognized by both the Canadian and American Paediatric Societies, along with the World Health Organization as a source of healing for premature infants, skin-to-skin care fosters many positive benefits such as:
• Lowers the number of times a baby’s heart rate dips or baby stops breathing
• Helps babies breathe better and use oxygen more effectively
• Lowers stress hormone cortisol by making baby feel safe and secure
• Acts like medicine to reduce pain
• Improves the quality of baby’s sleep which helps the brain grow
• Improves brain development which affects later outcomes
• Baby gains weight faster and begins breastfeeding sooner
• Shortens hospital stay
Shae-Lynn (L) and her daughter Emelia participate in the Kangaroo Challenge in CKHA’s Women and Children’s Program on May 2, 2017. Skin-to-skin care offers various benefits for premature infants such as improved brain development, lowers the stress hormone cortisol and helps infants’ use oxygen more effectively.
CKHA will compete in this friendly competition among other Level 2 NICUs by reporting the number of hours of skin-to-skin care each infant staying in the NICU receives each day, from May 1 up to and including May 15, 2017. Kangaroo care will be given by a parent or a family member to eligible infants with staff on-hand to provide support and education to all families who choose to participate. The challenge also provides a learning opportunity for the inter-professional team on the Women and Children’s unit to embrace skin-to-skin care year round.
The Kangaroo Challenge wraps up on May 15, 2017 in celebration of Kangaroo Care Awareness Day. CKHA’s results will be announced internally to staff, physicians and volunteers, as well as publicly through the organization’s social media channels.
CKHA’s Special Care Nursery (NICU):
CKHA’s Women and Children’s Program provides Level 2 NICU services, allowing sick newborns to receive appropriate care close to home. As a Level 2 unit, care is provided to premature infants 32 weeks of gestational age and older. Infants in the NICU also receive treatment for respiratory difficulties, infections, addictions, jaundice and feeding issues. 
Family is an important part of the care team. Parents are welcome 24 hours-a-day and are encouraged to provide as much care to their baby as they are comfortable with. Safety and security is high priority; babies are fitted with security tags and access to the nursery is secured.
To arrange an interview, please contact:
Emily Field, Communications Specialist
Chatham-Kent Health Alliance
519.352.6401 x 5326
efield [at] ckha [dot] on [dot] ca 

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