Health care trends: The delivery room

Close to 400,000 babies are born in Canada each year and with changing health care options, more and more parents are shopping around for what they feel is the perfect delivery room experience. While safety and care are the number one priority for both medical staff and expectant parents, some trends make the health care choice a little bit sweeter. If your health care organization aims to offer competitive amenities, take note of recent trends some hospitals are starting to roll out.

  • Bigger rooms
    Years ago, it was rare to find private rooms in most maternity wards. Today, many hospitals offer private labour and delivery rooms. Some postpartum rooms, where moms rest for 48 hours after a normal vaginal delivery or three days after a Caesarean section, are transitioning to private, home-like suites. Dads can even stay overnight in sleeper chairs or pull-out couches, and more visitors are allowed for longer periods of time.”Women like to share their pregnancies with their families,” says Dr. Manuel Alvarez, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Hackensack University Medical Center. Private rooms make that possible.

In addition to bigger rooms, some hospitals are even equipping birthing and recovery rooms with flat-screen televisions, gaming consoles, birthing tubs for water births, ergonomic furniture that hides cords and wires, as well as wi-fi access, taking comfort to a new level.

  • Luxury services
    Calgary’s Peter Lougheed Centre offers two “Theme Rooms” for new mothers that feature beautiful décor, high-quality furnishings and plush linens. In the U.S., some hospitals take the concept of pampering even further: Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey is said to offer other spa services, such as manicures and pedicures, to new moms while Englewood Hospital and Medical center offers complimentary yoga classes and plush robes. Experts say these luxuries provide added value as high-touch services for women shopping around for the best care—an incentive of sorts that’s often quite welcome.
  • Social networks
    For the past five years, it has become commonplace for new parents to update loved ones and strangers alike with the status of mom and baby throughout delivery and recovery with posts on TwitterSM, FacebookSM, blogs and other social networking sites. The trend is no longer on the patient side, it has more to do with how hospitals and health care professionals are handling the trend, by banning cell phones, photography and video in the delivery room until after a child has been safely delivered and doctors give the go-ahead. While such bans were enacted with the care of patients in mind, some hospitals have been faced with considerable backlash from parents eager to document their experience.

If your health care organization is already on board with these trends or others, or looking to get there, we have a few tips for spreading the word:

  • Update your website often to highlight new technology or amenities offered. Some hospitals have found success in doing so in ways similar to how hotels and resorts highlight their amenities—through 360 degree tours, online brochures and testimonials.
  • Hold community open houses to show off new technology and comforts firsthand. Invite local media, promote through community calendars and local clinics. Don’t let them leave empty handed create and give them fun swag bags with Matchbook Emery Boards or Flexi Vases.
  • Don’t forget to get hospital staff talking about the new birthing room amenities by offering them swag items, too, like pens, 7 day med minder and power sport bottles.

While the basics of birthing haven’t changed, the tools and technologies used in the delivery and recovery rooms have. As health care organizations compete for choosy customers, stay ahead of the game by offering the latest in birthing room trends.

“Births, estimates, by province and territory.” Statistics Canada. Web. 07 Feb. 2011.

“Oh Baby! ; Hospitals Investing a Bundle to Pamper Moms – Health News – RedOrbit.” RedOrbit“ Science, Space, Technology, Health News and Information. Web. 01 Feb. 2011.

Seelye, Katharine. “Cameras, and Rules Against Them, Stir Passions in Delivery Rooms.” New York Times. 2 Feb. 2010. Web. 2 Feb. 2010.

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