|Roughly four million babies are born in the U.S. 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 now making standard:|
- Bigger rooms
Years ago, more than one mom and crying newborn in a room were standard. Today, almost all labor and delivery rooms are private. Postpartum rooms in suburban hospitals, where moms rest for 48 hours after a normal vaginal delivery or four days after a Caesarean section, are largely transitioning to private suites. Dads may 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, it’s now become quite commonplace for birthing and recovery rooms to be equipped 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
Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina, Minn. partners with a local business called Go Home Gorgeous to offer new moms in-room massage therapy and pampering. 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 Twitter, Facebook, 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, hospitals like Meritus Medical Center and Harbor Hospital in Baltimore 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. Many 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 and create 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, stethoscope clips 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.
Seelye, Katharine. “Cameras, and Rules Against Them, Stir Passions in Delivery Rooms.” New York Times. 2 Feb. 2010.