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Keeping Mothers Safe In and Out of the Delivery Room

World Sepsis Day has me thinking about how anyone with an infection in the hospital is at risk for sepsis. Pregnant women and new mothers are no exception.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infection or sepsis caused 12.8 percent of pregnancy-related deaths between 2011 and 2014. Though advances in medicine have brought lifesaving care to mothers in need, those advances also come with a risk of healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) that can lead to illness, death, prolonged lengths of stay, and additional diagnostic and therapeutic interventions that generate detrimental outcomes and added costs.

When Mothers are at Risk

Women who have experienced complications, such as miscarriage, cesarean section, prolonged or obstructed labor, ruptured membranes, infection following vaginal delivery, mastitis or a viral or bacterial illness are among the most vulnerable to sepsis. With the mortality risk sneaking up 7.6 percent with each hour that sepsis goes undiagnosed, every minute and even every second counts.

Optimizing Perinatal Care

While there are practical steps healthcare providers can take to prevent HAIs, recognize the signs and symptoms of infections sooner, and treat cases as quickly as possible, sepsis is far from the only safety threat to pregnant women and new mothers. Other threats include stroke, kidney failure, liver failure, heart attack, heart disease, diabetes and coma.

For decades, Premier® has been working with hospitals to improve perinatal care and maternal health, as well as sepsis prevention and treatment overall. Hospitals in Premier’s quality improvement collaborative are working together and using data to solve significant problems by measuring and comparing their performance, and then sharing best practices from top performers. They test ideas and share what works, building bridges of knowledge and improvement across the healthcare industry.

10 Priority Diagnoses to Reduce Maternal Death Rates

This work has taught us that keeping mothers safe in and out of the delivery room requires standardized, highly-reliable, evidence-based clinical practices and continuous quality improvement efforts that are sustained over time. Alongside its members, Premier has identified 10 priority diagnoses to reduce maternal death rates by preventing further complications.

1. Early-onset sepsis mortality/morbidity

2. Severe maternal morbidity

3. Neonatal and maternal complications

4. Hemorrhage

5. Primary cesarean

6. Venous thromboembolism

7. Hypertensive disorders

8. Substance use/neonatal abstinence

9. Sepsis/surgical site infection

10. Unexpected newborn complications

To learn more about how Premier and our members are working together to improve maternal safety, download the on-demand webinar Collaborating to Improve Maternal Care, and hear a real-life example of how Beebe Healthcare improved perinatal team responses, decreased length-of-stay and reduced cesarean rates. Visit www.premierinc.com/bundleofjoy for more information.

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