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Nursing Standing In A Hallway Smiling.

Research project leads to regionwide donor human milk initiative

It is well documented that breast milk is the best source of nutrients for a newborn baby, and Kaiser Permanente has long supported our new moms on their breastfeeding journey. However, alternative resources are needed to support the most vulnerable newborn patients in some cases.

According to published research, when there is a need for human milk that cannot be completed through breastfeeding or using the milk from the mother, utilizing donor human milk that is screened and is safe is a valid alternative.

Looking to expand a donor human milk program outside the NICU and into the newborn space, a team at the Modesto Medical Center began an evidence-based research project to discover whether implementing a human donor milk program would increase exclusive breastfeeding rates at discharge.

Two nurses prepping donor milk for newborns.”Our primary outcome measure was Perinatal Core Measure-05 (PC-05), which assesses the number of newborns exclusively fed breast milk during the newborn’s entire hospitalization,” said Christine Pierce, RN, Maternal Child Health, Nurse Manager, Modesto Medical Center.

Within the initial pilot, an increase of PC-05 was observed from an average of 72% to greater than 80%, which has held steady for more than a year since the pilot and continues in an upward trend.

“While this data is outstanding, one of the most impactful results from this work was a 19% increase in the exclusive breast milk feeding rates among our Black and Hispanic members,” added Christine.

Based on the success in Modesto, the initiative was expanded to Antioch, San Francisco, and Vallejo, and is expected at all medical centers by the end of 2024. A poster of this work will be presented at the 2023 KP National Nursing Conference.

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