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Helping Premature Infants Through the Golden Hour

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“We want to provide infant caregivers with the technology and education they need to deliver exceptional care for their babies,” said Carrie Eglinton Manner, General Manager of GE Healthcare’s Maternal Infant Care business

The ‘Golden Hour’ traditionally refers to the crucial moments following a major trauma, as the correct treatment needs to be administered within the first 60 minutes to maximize chances of survival. The term is now increasingly used to refer to the period immediately after the birth of ill and premature babies — the infant’s first full hour of postnatal life. In this timeframe, the infant needs to be continuously monitored, but one of the most important factor is the baby’s body temperature, which must be kept constantly stable.

The development of resources for the bedside caregiver offer clinicians’ easy access to critical information. To help address this need, GE Healthcare has created a series of short educational videos focusing on common scenarios that may arise during the care of ill or premature infants. One of the major topics covered in the video series is the Golden Hour and the importance of temperature.

In the womb, the infant’s body temperature is perfectly regulated at about half a degree Celsius above that of the mother’s. Once the baby has left the womb, its temperature will fall to within a normal range between 36.5 and 37 degrees Celsius, but a premature infant’s temperature can fall lower and will require action by the neonatal clinical team. In fact, for every degree below 36 degrees Celsius, the survival rate drops by 28 percent.


Keeping an Infant’s Temperature Constant During the Golden Hour
So what can be done to improve temperature control of the infant’s surrounding environment? To answer this question it is important to be aware of the influencing factors, which may result in heat loss from the baby. These can include:

  • Caregivers taking early action to pre-warm all equipment
  • Materials in direct contact with the newborn — what are their properties and could they increase heat exchange and thereby increase heat loss?
  • What, if any, thermal devices are being used in proximity to the baby?

 

Help for Healthcare Professionals

GE Healthcare’s series of short educational videos is designed to help clinicians provide their youngest and most fragile patients with the best possible care within the hospital setting (labor and delivery, well baby nursery and NICU).

“We want to provide infant caregivers with the technology and education they need to deliver exceptional care for their babies,” said Carrie Eglinton Manner, General Manager of GE Healthcare’s Maternal Infant Care business.

Each video runs between 6-13 minutes in total length and covers a variety of topics, including:

  • The ‘Golden Hour’ to ensure optimal thermal management prior to and after delivery of a newborn
  • Intra hospital transport of infants to assist in providing uninterrupted thermal support
  • Maximizing the Giraffe® Comfort Zone feature on both Giraffe incubators and OmniBeds
  • Understanding the multiple factors affecting the overall heat balance of an infant
  • Strategies to maintain humidified environments
  • Treating jaundice and the use of phototherapy
  • Troubleshooting thermoregulation concerns related to the bed, baby, environment and caregiving practices

Produced as part of GE Healthcare’s healthymagination initiative, these videos are designed to reduce costs, increase access and improve both the quality and efficacy of healthcare delivery worldwide. By building on each clinician’s already formidable knowledge of prenatal, neonatal and postnatal care, GE Healthcare is attempting to provide healthcare professionals with ways improve the level of care — and survival rates — for ill and premature infants cared for in incubators and NICU.