Health News

Feb 7, 2013 7:55 PM by Laura Wilson - KAJ News

Whitefish birthing center picks up kudos

WHITEFISH - With fundraising for North Valley Hospital's Birthing Center underway, staff hope the national recognition will bring them one step closer to improving their increasingly popular birthing facility.

With services like one-on-one labor support, complimentary therapies and water birth, North Valley Hospital continues to draw in families from the Flathead Valley, out-of-state areas, and even several couples from outside the United States.

Birthing Center Nurse Manager Cindy Walp said they ask every patient to describe what their perfect birth would be like. "We go the extra mile to try and provide that for that patient," she said. "We attempt to do whatever that patient needs to make that a meaningful wonderful experience."

Sammi Johnson gave birth to her son, Maddox, on Feb. 5. She said the care is "unprecedented." "From checking in to the nurses, the midwives are amazing," Johnson said. "I feel like we really know the nurses and they care and are really rooting for us."

North Valley Hospital recently received the Women's Choice Award from WomenCertified, recognizing it as one of the 2013 Best Hospitals for Patient Experience in Obstetrics.

"I'm so proud of them, they deserve everything they get," Johnson said.

Staff say the timing of this award could not be better, as they are currently in their early stages of fundraising for a Birthing Center expansion project.

Karin Olsen, the North Valley Foundation executive director, said the original birth center that they've occupied for six years was built for 250 births annually.

"We're double that just about every year, so there's definitely a need [for the expansion].

The North Valley Hospital Foundation has raised about $650,000, but they don't plan on going public with the campaign until they hit about the 50% mark on their fundraising goal.

"It's a need for the community," Olsen said. "By taking our mothers over to the other ward, it takes beds away from our Ortho [surgery center]. It's much better to have our moms close to their babies and to the nursery."

For patients currently in the Birthing Center ward, nursing manager Walp said they are continuing to look for ways to improve the hospital experience for the new moms, and moms-to-be.

"Even without the award, we're looking for that every day," Walp said. "We take every compliment and every complaint from a patient and try and turn it into something positive so that we can be better."

North Valley Hospital is one of only 350 hospitals nationwide to be honored this year for its obstetrics care.

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