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GE Healthcare Launches New Educational Preemie Resource for Parents

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The new website features a number of sections that allow users to comment and share their experiences of a premature birth.

GE Healthcare announces the launch of a new educational website aimed at parents of premature babies. The website aims to serve as an online resource for those who seek to better understand the complex equipment used to treat their child as well as contribute to an online resource with their experiences.

The launch of the website is a response by GE Healthcare to parents and families, who have experienced the birth of a premature baby or ‘preemie’. The website provides a means of support for these parents, whose babies may require a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) stay.

Many parents experience a trouble-free labor when their child is born. But for premature births, a baby’s time in the NICU, may well involve the use of incubators and warmers that are connected to monitors. GE Healthcare recognize that this is a stressful time for parents and the excitement can quickly turn to fear of the unknown.

The online resource includes an ‘Ask the Experts’ section in which a team of GE Healthcare NICU experts provides insights on common questions from parents of infants requiring specialized NICU care. Additionally, parents and families have the opportunity to submit a question that they feel too embarrassed to ask a clinician face to face. Experts are on hand to give a personalized response.

Also included is the ‘Giraffe Story Mobile’ section. This area provides information and relevant stories for parents who have recently given birth to a premature baby, as well as those who are seeking more information on NICU care. The section ‘Preemie Care Explorer’ summarizes commonly used NICU equipment and how it helps create the optimum environment for babies to grow and develop. 

 

The Impact of Premature Births

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half a million babies in the United States—that's one in every eight—are born prematurely each year.* Worldwide an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm (before 37 completed weeks of gestation).*** Across 184 countries, the rate of preterm birth ranges from 5% to 18% of babies born.***

While not all premature babies experience complications, being born too early can cause short-term and long-term health problems for preemies. Important developmental growth occurs up to the final weeks of pregnancy so conditions such as jaundice, which is characterized by yellow coloring of the skin and eyes, breathing challenges, and other medical issues can develop.

This means many premature infants require specialized NICU care. This can include leveraging technologies such as the Giraffe Omnibed, a combined incubator and warmer that mimics the mother’s womb environment and protects babies as they fully develop. 

GE Healthcare also understands the importance of providing seamless continuity of care when transporting infants from one care area to another. The Giraffe Shuttle is a portable power source that connects to GE Healthcare’s Giraffe portfolio. It provides electrical power to the bed and other auxiliary equipment. Its portability reduces the potential for clinical problems associated with intra-hospital transport that result from interrupted patient thermal regulation and intrahospital transport. 

About 10 to 15 percent of babies born in the United States each year are treated in a NICU due to premature birth and other complications.** Worldwide, an estimated 1 million babies die annually from preterm birth complications.*** Preterm birth is the leading cause of newborn deaths (babies in the first four weeks of life) and the second leading cause of death after pneumonia in children under five years.*** Three-quarters of them could be saved with current, cost-effective interventions, even without intensive care facilities.***

GE Healthcare is committed to improving patient safety. Led by the National Patient Safety Foundation, March 3 2013 marks the beginning of Patient Safety Awareness week, tackling issues such as patient welfare and standards of care.

For the many families affected, visit www.gehealthcare.com/preemiecare to submit a question to the experts, or find out more about the NICU experience and how caregivers help premature infants develop and grow.

*- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/Features/PrematureBirth/ 
**- March of Dimes, http://www.marchofdimes.com/baby/inthenicu_whichbabies.html 
***- World Health Organization, Preterm Birth, http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs363/en/index.html