Published on September 21, 2023
OHRH launches 'I Just Delivered' bracelet program
By Freddie Bourne, Messenger-Inquirer
Owensboro Health Regional Hospital recently launched its “I Just Delivered” bracelet program, which looks to help improve postpartum health for new mothers.
The initiative, which kicked off Monday, provides blue bracelets to all new mothers giving birth at the hospital upon being discharged. The goal is to remind families and healthcare providers about those who have recently delivered and are considered at-risk for postpartum complications.
The program is funded by Owensboro Health Volunteer Auxiliary.
The bracelet’s design includes text that reads “I Just Delivered” and two hearts representing the mother and the newborn.
Robin Locher, manager of labor and delivery, obstetrical emergency department (OBED) and antepartum at OHRH, said the program came about when one of the department’s educators heard about similar efforts in Illinois.
Locher said a program like this is needed in Kentucky.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the mortality rate for pregnant or postpartum women in Kentucky between the years 2018-21 was 38.9 out of 100,000.
“Kentucky is in the top 10 of maternal mortality in the United States,” she said. “We really felt like this was important for our community to have the awareness (that) once you go home, your care doesn’t stop there; your care continues.”
When a mother delivers, Locher said the patient has “a higher risk of complications that are related to the pregnancy itself.”
“Once you deliver, it doesn’t mean that it’s smooth sailing after that. You can have complications,” Locher said. “If you are not treated appropriately, those complications can get worse.”
Upon receiving the bracelet, Locher said the mother will also get an information card from the nurse before being transferred to the mother-baby unit to explain the purpose of the bracelet and suggested instructions of when to wear it.
Locher suggests new mothers wear the bracelets for at least six weeks after childbirth as the body typically returns back to its pre-pregnancy state during that time frame, though patients can be considered “at-risk” for up to 12 months after delivery.
The program also looks to raise awareness about serious complications new mothers can face after giving birth.
The bracelets alert everyone who comes in contact with the wearer — family members, healthcare providers, community members — to watch for signs of an obstetrics-related medical conditions, such as chest pain, seizures, breathing difficulties, heavy bleeding, thoughts of self harm and harm to others, headaches, fever and extreme pain.
“(We want) make sure that everyone knows you have delivered; and that if you come in with a severe headache, or internal bleeding, or shortness of breath (or) chest pain, it could be related to the delivery and not just a migraine (or something else),” Locher said.
More than 2,100 births took place at OHRH in 2022, according to hospital stats.
Locher said maternal deaths happen “very seldom” at the facility, but that doesn’t lessen the need for preparation and prevention.
“Most of our patients get prenatal care, we have excellent OB-GYNs in the community. It’s not been a huge problem here,” she said. “(But) we have had patients that have been readmitted with post-delivery complications
“We want to make sure that if (a mother is out in public) and (they) start bleeding, we want (people) to be aware (the mother has) delivered (and won’t) be taken to the ER and (experience) a delay in getting them to the OBED.”
“Those situations stand out and those do become the people that you want to help to make that not happen again,” said Brittany James, director of nursing for maternity services at OHRH. “By being able to (have programs) like this, we are able to decrease (the amount of maternal deaths).”
James said that while the department tends to be looked at as “the healthy population (that’s) here to have a baby,” she wants to be sure that she and her team are ready for the worst-case scenario.
“We want to be able to be prepared, and have the awareness and have the ability to provide care as soon as possible when those times do arise,” she said.
About Owensboro Health
Owensboro Health is a nonprofit health system with a mission to heal the sick and to improve the health of the communities it serves in Kentucky and Indiana. The system includes Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, nationally recognized for design, architecture and engineering; Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital; Owensboro Health Twin Lakes Medical Center; the Owensboro Health Medical Group comprised of over 350 providers at more than 30 locations; three outpatient Healthplex facilities, a certified medical fitness facility, the Healthpark; a surgical weight loss center and program, and the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center.
On average each year, we have more than 19,000 inpatient admissions, deliver 2,000 babies and provide the region’s only Level III NICU. Owensboro Health physicians perform nearly 33,000 surgical procedures, including nearly 150 open-heart surgeries. Our physicians and staff have 90,000 Emergency Department visits and more than 1.25 million outpatient visits annually. Visit our home page for more information.