Stormont-Vail Achieves National Certification For Premature Infant Care

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A Topeka facility has earned national recognition for its work caring for premature babies.

Stormont-Vail HealthCare is one of only eight facilities in the country to earn disease-specific certification from the Joint Commission in care of premature infants. The Joint Commission awarded the facility its Gold Seal of Approval for Prematurity for Stormont's compliance with national standards for health care quality and safety.

Terra and Louie Constantino are experiencing it firsthand. The Topeka couple has spent every spare moment of the past week at Stormont's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with their newborn triplets, Louie, Giovanni and Rocky. They say having a NICU ten minutes from their home has allowed them to spend precious time with their newborns, while still caring for three big brothers at home.

Danielle and Randy Rickert also appreciate the convenience. The Fort Riley couple have spent the past month making the hour drive to spend as much time as possible with their sons, Maddox, Liam and Kennedy. Randy, who is a solider at Fort Riley, says it would be a problem for him to get the time to drive to Kansas City or further. WIth the NICU so nearby in Topeka, he says he's been able to see Danielle and the babies at lease every weekend.

The certification offers assurance that the care the infants are receiving is more than just convenient. Deb Salsbury, a neonatal nurse practitioner, says Stormont had to prove to t he Commission that the facility offers safe and quality evidence-based care to patients.

Salsbury says it was a two-year process. Staff focused on reducing and preventing infections, as well as improving nutrition for preterm babies by working with moms on expressing breast milk so their children could get breast milk for as long as possible.

Their other focus was skin care. Salsbury says, when born babies are premature, their skin is thin and fragile. She says the NICU looked at how to improve skin integrity by increasing the humidity provided to preterm babies.

Salsbury says the certification is a tribute to the high quality and dedication of the entire staff.

Of the eight facilities with the certification, Stormont is the only one in Kansas. The next-closest facility is in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The complete news release is attached.

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