A Rotunda Hospital initiative providing lactation support for premature babies has been awarded Patient Education Project of the Year at the Irish Healthcare Awards 2017.

The winners were announced at a glittering gala event held in Dublin’s historic Round Room at the Mansion House on November 16th 2017, presented by broadcaster and journalist Chris Donoghue.

The aim of this initiative was the targeted provision of lactation support for mothers of premature babies within the Neonatal unit (NICU) to improve provision of mothers own milk (recognised worldwide as “liquid gold”) for these vulnerable babies. Mothers were surveyed on their understanding of the importance of breastmilk for their preterm babies. An information pack was prepared and where possible women were visited antenatally. Support was provided to express prenatally, or within the first hour of birth and an education update given to all staff. As a result the timely provision of mothers own milk for preterm babies increased from 32% to 60% over 3 months.

The Rotunda Hospital Perinatal Mental Health team were also commended on the night in the Public Health Initiative of the Year category for their project, ‘Introducing early screening for postnatal depression using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS)’

This initiative developed and delivered an educational and training programme to introduce early screening for postnatal depression (PND) using the EPDS to Cavan General Hospital and Our Lady of Lourdes maternity services over a series of workshops delivered by the Rotunda Mental Health team. Since August 2017 there is now a standardised screening programme in place in the RCSI Hospital group, an increase in awareness across health professionals of PND and a care pathway for women that score highly on the EPDS.

Congratulations to all involved!