Fetal to Newborn Care Center

 Belcastro HSBy Marc Belcastro, DO

Every four-and-a-half minutes, a baby is born with a congenital anomaly, or birth defect. In other words, about one in every 33 babies is born with a birth defect, which is the leading cause of infant mortality, accounting for more than one out of every five infant deaths. Additionally, babies born with birth defects have a greater chance of illness and long-term disability than babies without them. Most major birth defects are often diagnosed by ultrasound, during pregnancy. This gives doctors and nurses an opportunity to begin planning follow-up and treatment before birth. The care is often fragmented, with families left alone to navigate our complex medical system.

Almost one year ago, Miami Valley Hospital and Dayton Children’s created the Southwest Ohio Neonatal Collaborative. A subcommittee of this alliance, called the Clinical Advisory Committee, developed a concept often referred to by centers across the country as “fetal care centers.” Our Premier and Dayton Children’s team elected to call their center The Fetal to Newborn Care Center, emphasizing that care does not end when the fetus becomes a newborn.

While the entire perinatal, neonatal, and subspecialist teams at Miami Valley Hospital and Dayton Children’s will be involved with the care of these families, the nurse navigator for the program will be based in the office of Perinatal Partners, the Maternal-Fetal Medicine office located at Miami Valley Hospital’s Women’s Berry Center.

We have hired Sharon Orozco as our nurse navigator, and envision our process to unfold as follows: once a diagnosis is made, a follow-up plan will be established between the MFM specialist and referring physician. The nurse navigator will guide families through the pregnancy, assisting them with all the subspecialty appointments and tours that they may need at Dayton Children’s and Miami Valley Hospital. Furthermore, the navigator will provide emotional support, educational materials, and be the initial contact for the needs of the families. In rare cases, Sharon will guide the family through the perinatal hospice path, and will communicate with the referring physician during the pregnancy. Lastly, through the relationship between Miami Valley Hospital and Dayton Children’s, Sharon will play a critical role in outreach and follow-up with all local and regional physicians and hospitals.

Now, obstetricians, pediatricians, and family practitioners across the Premier system, and beyond, will be able to refer families who are experiencing a pregnancy crisis to our center, with the confidence that our core values of respect, integrity, compassion, and excellence will be at the forefront of the care that they receive.

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