(KUTV) Some of the tests and checks a baby receives in the NICU are not always needed. However, a system called “POKE” is changing that and challenging caregivers to be more thoughtful.
In the past, Dr. Erick Ridout, a neonatologist at Intermountain’s Dixie Regional Medical Center, says the vast majority of care given was being done to a patient versus for the patient. Take babies in the NICU as an example.
“Small babies that would be taken care of in this device, historically would be under kind of a french-fry warmer,” explains Dr. Ridout.
Because of this, babies were at risk of losing water and being dehydrated which led to frequent blood sodium checks. Fast-forward to today and a new device allows caregivers to change the environment right next to the baby. They can add humidity right into the baby’s microenvironment.
“We get rid of that water loss and therefore the need to check those sodium levels, right? Most of the places continue to check the sodiums because it’s what they’re used to,” says Dr. Ridout.
Looking for a better option, Dr. Ridout created a system called “POKE” which focuses on caregivers providing thoughtful care.
“I simply want them to be thoughtful and have a reason for doing what they’re doing,” says Dr. Ridout.
This does not mean certain tests should not be done. There are still going to be some, possibly many, pokes that are justified. Instead, the focus is on caregivers being able to justify every single poke given to a patient.
“Have a reason for doing what we’re doing to be able to justify it and put the baby in a position to maximize benefit and minimize risk,” says Dr. Ridout.
Not only does applying “POKE” reduce healthcare costs, it also results healthier babies.
“By having this questioning and justifying every individual poke, the babies go home sooner, we don’t hurt them as much and that’s the kind of care we all deserve and they deserve,” says Dr. Ridout.
Dr. Ridout reminds parents they are their child’s biggest advocate. So if you don’t understand “why” a test is being performed, ask! It may prevent your child from receiving an unnecessary poke.