Kirkland-based health system has maintained its baby-friendly status since 1996
Kirkland, Wash. – EvergreenHealth recently was re-designated a Baby-Friendly Hospital, its 21st year of holding the designation since it was named the first Baby-Friendly hospital in the United States in 1996. The designation recognizes EvergreenHealth’s demonstrated commitment to breastfeeding, and the hospital has successfully renewed its designation every five years since first earning it.
The goal of the Baby-Friendly Initiative, a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), is to promote breastfeeding to give babies the best start in life. Studies continue to show that breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from serious illnesses, including gastroenteritis, asthma, eczema and respiratory and ear infections.
“As we celebrate our health system’s 45th anniversary this year, we are honored to recognize the Family Maternity Center for its long-standing commitment to the highest standards of postnatal care, benefiting both mothers and their babies,” said EvergreenHealth CEO Bob Malte. “As one of the state’s top five hospitals for number of births each year, with nearly 4,500 babies born here each year, supporting Baby-Friendly practices makes a significant impact on improving the health and well-being of our community – furthering our organizational purpose.”
In the U.S., there are just 419 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers, though more than 20,000 exist worldwide. The “Baby-Friendly” re-designation is given following a rigorous survey, and the designation is maintained through continued practice of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, as demonstrated by quality processes.
EvergreenHealth successfully renewed its designation by fulfilling qualifications such as sharing the benefits and management of breastfeeding with pregnant patients; helping mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth; encouraging breastfeeding on demand; fostering breastfeeding support groups, and other criteria. During their hospital stay, mothers receive help and support from board-certified lactation consultants, and EvergreenHealth’s Postpartum Clinic offers continued one-on-one support following discharge, as well.
Beyond its Baby-Friendly practices, EvergreenHealth offers several breastfeeding resources for new moms through its nationally acclaimed Breastfeeding Center, extensive selection of childbirth preparation and breastfeeding classes, and onsite retail boutique that sells breastfeeding supplies and other newborn accessories.
For more information on EvergreenHealth’s Family Maternity Center and Baby-Friendly designation, visit www.evergreenhealth.com/baby-friendly-hospital.
About Baby-Friendly USA, Inc.
The work of Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. (BFUSA) and its implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in the United States is predicated on the fact that human milk fed through the mother’s own breast is the normal way for human infants to be nourished. There is an abundance of scientific evidence that points to lower risks for certain diseases and improved health outcomes for both mothers and babies who breastfeed. Breastfeeding is the natural biological conclusion to pregnancy and an important mechanism for the continued normal development of the infant. With the correct information and the right supports in place, under normal circumstances, most women who choose to breastfeed are able to successfully achieve their goal.
The BFHI is a global initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). It is implemented in the United States by BFUSA. Further information about the U.S. Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative may be obtained at www.babyfriendlyusa.org or by contacting Sarah Avellino at 518.621.7982.
EvergreenHealth is an integrated health care system that serves nearly one million residents in King and Snohomish counties and offers a breadth of services and programs that is among the most comprehensive in the region. More than 1,000 physicians provide clinical excellence in over 80 specialties, including heart and vascular care, oncology, surgical care, orthopedics, neurosciences, women’s and children’s services, pulmonary care and home care and hospice services. Formed as a public hospital district in 1972, EvergreenHealth includes a 318-bed acute care medical center in Kirkland, a network of 10 primary care practices, two urgent care centers, over two dozen specialty care practices and 24/7 emergency care at its Kirkland, Monroe, and Redmond campuses. In 2015, the system expanded to include EvergreenHealth Monroe – an accredited, full-service 74-bed public hospital district, established in 1960 in Monroe, Washington. EvergreenHealth has clinical and strategic partnerships with several health care entities, including Virginia Mason, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and dozens of independent practices that are part of the clinically integrated EvergreenHealth Partners network and the Puget Sound High Value Network. In addition to clinical care, EvergreenHealth offers extensive community health outreach and education programs, anchored by the 24/7 EvergreenHealth Nurse Navigator & Healthline.
In 2016, EvergreenHealth achieved its eighth designation in the last nine years (2009-2012, and 2014-2017) as a Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence from Healthgrades®, and in 2017 it was named one of Healthgrades 2017 America’s 100 Best Hospitals placing it among the top 2 percent of hospitals nationwide, based on its outstanding clinical performance. EvergreenHealth was also named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals® by Truven Health Analytics™ in the “Large Community Hospitals” category for outstanding achievements in patient care, operational efficiency and financial strength, two years in a row. For more information, visit www.evergreenhealth.com.
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