By Carol Wolfenbarger, MSN, RN, FACHE, CEO of Mission Hospital McDowell
Mission Hospital McDowell’s Women’s Services are my focus this month, and we’ve got lots of good news to share. We’re proud, and it should make our community feel confident in the care women receive here, no matter what their age or stage of life. The services we offer include women’s surgery, Labor and Delivery, preventive care like mammography services, and women’s diagnostic and procedural cancer services.
We are celebrating that Mission Hospital McDowell (MHM) was recognized in the July 24th edition of Newsweek as a 2020 Best Maternity Hospital. I congratulate our extraordinary Labor and Delivery team, and Mission Women’s Care practice, who continually focus on providing evidence-based care to our obstetric patients. Our community can be proud that MHM is one of only 231 hospitals across 36 states that received this recognition. MHM helped to deliver 320 babies in 2019, and we look forward to continuing to serve more of our maternity patients in 2020.
Kristi Lankford, Nurse Manager of Women’s Services, is excited that MHM made this distinguished list, and she feels that factors like hardwired safety protocols, a family-centered care approach and sophisticated technology all contribute to the hospital’s recognition. “Our birthing suites are designed for the whole family, comfortable, and outfitted with advanced features which make them ‘smart rooms.’ For example, we download educational material to each suite’s smart board so that the minute a couple or mom-to-be arrives, they start learning about how to care for a newborn by viewing these informational videos,” she said. Lankford also describes heightened safety features, like the fact that when a nurse enters the suite, the TV-like computer recognizes their badge, and parents can rest easier.
MHM birthing suites are a best practice care-based model for having babies by promoting the same care team throughout the patient’s stay. The mother and baby remain in the same suite for their care from arrival to discharge the majority of the time. There’s support for families to teach them everything they need to know about their new bundle of joy, from before the birth to afterward, including help with breastfeeding.
Lori Webb serves as MHM’s Regional Manager of Surgical Services, and she believes that the hospital’s culture of safety, advanced technology and highly compassionate caregivers are some of the most important components that make our surgical services for women’s health issues an excellent choice. “McDowell stands out from the crowd because we’re advanced technically and have expert surgeons, and we offer a personal connection — each patient is special to us,” she says. “The physicians and staff focus on each individual’s unique health concerns and challenges, and we continue to make scheduling flexible so it’s easy for our patients to arrange appointments and surgeries.”
The roster of surgical services offered to women is extensive, and includes diagnostic and corrective women’s surgeries, from hysterectomies and reproductive studies to incontinence procedures. Both traditional open surgery and laparoscopic surgery are performed at MHM.
Webb notes that our board-certified gynecology surgery team provides evidence-based surgical care that includes non-opioid post-operative pain management. “We offer post-op pain management through our anesthesia team that includes nerve blocks as well as post-surgical epidurals for labor. Additionally, reproductive health procedures are a component of surgical care we provide,” says Webb. Hormone replacement therapy and other services are offered to menopausal and post-menopausal patients as well.
Imaging tests are an important part of Women’s Services, and MHM Regional Director of Imaging Services Kelly McFarland is pleased that the hospital is acquiring new and advanced technology to complement current mammography services.
“MHM is also the only one of three Mission Health sites that offer breast MRIs that’s not in Asheville,” shares McFarland. Because of this, patients can get screening done faster. “It helps expedite any decision-making for the patient and the surgeon,” she adds.
“What sets us apart is that we can offer such comprehensive services right here, which allows us to set and achieve excellence of care. Our patients deserve the best imaging possible and we’re excited to offer this care locally to our community,” says McFarland.
Our leaders show why I am proud of our team at MHM and why we are celebrating our recognition. Our Women’s Services continue to be delivered safely, even as we deal with COVID-19 locally. It has never been more important than now to practice the “three Ws”: wear a mask, wait six feet apart and wash your hands. Women still need care and babies continue to be born, and we’re honored to care for you, especially now.
Carol Wolfenbarger, MSN, RN, FACHE, is CEO of Mission Hospital McDowell.