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St. Helena Hospital Clear Lake tailors infant hearing screenings to family's needs

Lake County News - 6/18/2017

Lynn Lohner, RN, does a hearing screening on sleeping Irene Hernandez, a baby born at St. Helena Hospital Clear Lake in Clearlake, Calif.

CLEARLAKE, Calif. ? St. Helena Hospital Clear Lake has brought its newborn hearing screening program in-house, allowing the hospital to offer flexible scheduling for families.

Previously, the program was being managed by an outside agency and parents only had one day per month to bring their newborn in for his or her next screening.

"After considering the busy lives of our patients and their families, we determined it was in the best interest of our community to offer a hearing screening program truly tailored to their needs," said Melissa Keller, RN, manager of the Women's Care Unit, which offers family birth services. "We want to create a seamless experience for our patients during delivery and after discharge so it is easy for them to help their newborns grow and thrive."

St. Helena Hospital Clear Lake is certified to participate in the Newborn Hearing Screening Program by the California Department of Health Care Services.

The Newborn Hearing Screening Program was developed by the California Department of Health Care Services and Children's Medical Services to identify hearing loss in infants and guide families to the appropriate services needed to develop communication skills.

By starting its own hearing screening program, the Women's Care Unit is able to tailor post-discharge screenings and education to the parents' needs and schedule.

Families who deliver at St. Helena Hospital Clear Lake have the opportunity to have their baby's hearing screened multiple times.

The first hearing newborns experience is at the hospital within the first 24 hours after delivery.

The Women's Care Unit nursing staff provides parents with education on the hearing screening and many benefits to the newborn. Results of the hearing screening are communicated to the newborn's pediatrician and the Newborn Hearing Screening Program, and followup screenings are scheduled to ensure that infants' hearing is developing properly.

If an infant does not pass the screening, they will be referred for additional testing.

"The future of our community depends on the health of the children we serve," says Josie Lutz, RN, who coordinates the hearing screen program. "Offering these important screenings makes a difference at the root level in the community where I live, which is something I'm passionate about."

Learn more about the infant screening program and Women's Care Unit by calling 707-995-5875.


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