Emily O. and her husband, Alexander C., had much to be thankful for last November. The Maplewood couple welcomed their first child – 7 lb. 3 oz. Jackson Alexander C. – on Thanksgiving Day at Overlook Medical Center.
“He’s our little turkey,” says 33-year-old Emily, proudly. But like many first-time parents, Emily and Alexander were, understandably, a bit anxious about bringing their baby home after their brief stay in Overlook’s Mother-Baby Unit. There, they had an opportunity to “room in” with Jackson and learn to care for their newborn under the guidance of specialty nurses. Once they returned home, they wondered where they could turn if they had questions about breastfeeding, bathing, or any other issue that might come up.
Recognizing the need to reassure parents that they have the continued support of the nursing staff and lactation consultant upon discharge, Overlook’s Maternity Center has launched a telehealth program to extend postpartum care at home.
“Virtual visits allow our care team to assess and respond to a mother’s clinical needs, such as breastfeeding, as well as their emotional well-being, such as postpartum depression, in the comfort and safety of their home,” comments Monica Myron, MSN, RNC-OB, nurse manager, Overlook Maternity Center.
Prior to Emily’s discharge from Overlook, the nursing team was sure to schedule Emily’s first virtual visit with Jaclyn Pastena Grieco, MSN, RNC-MNN, assistant nurse manager of Overlook’s Mother-Baby Unit. A few days later, Emily logged into her MyChart patient portal and had a face-to-face meeting with Grieco and Niki Swayze, RNC-MNN, IBCLC.
“It was amazing,” says Emily. “I prepared a list of questions, and we went over every one of them. It was so helpful not only to discuss the baby’s care but my own care, since my first gynecologist appointment was a few weeks away.”
The 30-minute virtual meeting included a discussion with Swayze, a lactation consultant, who provided Emily with a direct number for breastfeeding advice should she have additional questions, as well as instructions for scheduling follow-up virtual visits and links to Overlook’s breastfeeding support groups.
“It’s great to know that all of these services are included with my hospital experience and that the support I received from Overlook didn’t end when we returned home,” observes Emily. “My generation is heavily reliant upon the internet for information,” she remarks, “but it’s reassuring to know that I can reach out to medical professionals I know and trust in my community.”