AR Gould Hospital Named a “Best Maternity Care Hospital”
Presque Isle, Maine (March 19, 2021) — In February, Northern Light AR Gould Hospital was named to Newsweek’s 2021 list of Best Maternity Care Hospitals. The hospital was one of 217 nationally recognized on the list.
“We are extremely proud of our labor and delivery unit, as well as our OB and Pediatric offices, to be recognized for this high-level of quality and safety in the care of our patients,” said Jessica St. Peter, director of quality.
Newsweek partnered with The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit organization that reports on the safety and quality performance of U.S. healthcare facilities, to create the list using evidence-based, nationally standardized metrics. The distinction recognizes facilities that have excelled in providing care to mothers, newborns, and their families, as verified by the 2020 Leapfrog Hospital Survey. Hospitals on the list also demonstrated a commitment to safety via the fall 2020 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade.
“A hospital must have an A or B safety grade to even be considered for this honor,” explained Amy Jackson, nurse manager of the hospital’s labor and delivery unit. AR Gould Hospital has an A safety rating with Leapfrog.
Other considerations for being named a Best Maternity Care Hospital include lower rates of early elective delivery, cesarian section, and episiotomy, as well as compliance with process measures including newborn bilirubin screening and blood clot prevention techniques for mothers delivering via C-section.
“Our team has demonstrated their commitment to following evidenced-based care in decisions around C-sections, episiotomies, and deliveries that are performed before 39 weeks. There are times when these medical procedures are performed in the best interest of our patients, but they must meet specified criteria as they also carry risks. Keeping low rates of these procedures helps us to prevent adverse events such as the need for neonatal intensive care for babies, as well as blood clots, infections, and/or pelvic floor defects for mothers,” said St. Peter.
Jackson went on to explain that some of these standards were pretty straight-forward to meet based on hospital protocols. “For instance, we check bilirubin levels on every single one of our newborns, so the minimum standard of 90 percent was easily met and surpassed. We also never opt for an early delivery for a mother less than 39 weeks unless it is medically necessary. One standard that was a bit more challenging was the C-section rate, since they count every single delivery done by C-section, no matter what the reason,” she said.
St. Peter notes that achieving these standards, coupled with other initiatives like Cribs for Kids Gold Certified Safe Sleep Champion recognition, demonstrates the hospital’s commitment to the highest level of care for its patients.
What does this recognition ultimately mean for local mothers-to-be?
“Patients should take comfort that they are in good hands,” said Jackson. “Those having babies in Aroostook County should feel particularly comforted, as Cary Medical Center also received this recognition. To have two hospitals out of only five in Maine earn this recognition really says a lot.”