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Riley on the Road: Advancing Newborn Care in Indiana

| Indianapolis—The birth of a child is usually a joyous milestone. But in the case of a premature or critically ill newborn, that joy can fade quickly if the little one is struggling to breathe. How the surrounding medical team responds in the first minutes and hours of the newborn’s life is critical. Hoping to improve the care provided in delivery rooms across the state, Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health has launched a unique newborn resuscitation simulation outreach program.

Dr. Bobbi Byrne, a neonatologist at Riley at IU Health, developed the program after recognizing many resuscitation teams in outlying hospitals have limited experience with life threatening or high-risk delivery room situations. “Emergencies can’t always be prevented and sometimes there isn’t enough time for a transport to a larger care center,” Byrne said. “Since initial delivery room resuscitations can have dramatic impacts on the long-term development of infants, educating community hospitals on these lifesaving skills is imperative.”

Riley at IU Health launched the newborn resuscitation simulation outreach today at IU Health West Hospital. The simulation team, led by Byrne and comprised of Riley at IU Health physicians, nurses and respiratory therapists, ran several high-risk delivery scenarios with state-of-the-art, interactive baby mannequins for IU Health West’s delivery room resuscitation teams and nursery staff. The program emphasized technical skills, team communication and the stabilization and management of critically ill newborns. The simulations were recorded for video review and debriefing afterwards.

Riley at IU Health’s simulation team will travel to hospitals across the state, conducting several programs each month, tailoring them to the specific needs of the participants. The program’s next scheduled stops include Union Hospital in Terre Haute and Community South Hospital in Indianapolis.

“We use these lifesaving skills at Riley at IU Health on a regular basis,” Byrne said. “By taking this expertise on the road, community hospital resuscitation teams can refresh and sharpen their skills in safe, realistic environments that are already familiar to them.”

“At Riley, we’ve always been dedicated to providing the highest quality of care for Hoosier children,” said Marilyn Cox, interim chief executive officer, Riley at IU Health. “But now, we’re proud to partner with our community hospital colleagues and lead the way on improving the outcomes and survival of at-risk newborns in communities across Indiana.”

Riley at IU Health was the only Indiana hospital ranked in the top 50 national programs for Neonatology by U.S. News Media Group in the 2011-12 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings. Riley’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) provides the most specialized care in the state for newborns and infants with medical or surgical problems.

To interview Dr. Bobbi Byrne or to see a simulation in action, please call Kit Werbe at 317.963.7692.


About Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health For more than 85 years, Riley at IU Health has been one of the nation’s leading children’s hospitals. Each year, Riley at IU Health provides compassionate care, support and comfort to 215,000 inpatients and outpatients from across Indiana, the nation and the world. Part of Indiana University Health, our unique partnership with the Indiana University School of Medicine gives our highly skilled physicians access to innovative treatments using the latest research and technology.

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