During the week of February 21st, St. Paul’s Hospital underwent a facility-wide assessment to become a designated Baby-Friendly hospital. Assessors came from across Canada and conducted interviews with a variety of staff, volunteers, providers and patients over three days. The final accreditation report and results will be announced within the next month. If successful, we will be only the second hospital in British Columbia to receive this global designation of best practice.

The bulk of the assessment was conducted within the Pregnancy, Birthing and Newborn Centre as well as our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Special accolades were mentioned for all the people who were interviewed throughout the facility during the assessment: from the entrance screeners, to the volunteers in the gift shop, and the housekeeping staff throughout the hospital – everyone who participated helped the hospital move towards a successful designation.

Assessors reported that they were blown away with the high level of person-centered care that was consistently observed throughout the facility. These observations included staff working in the operating room during an emergency caesarean birth, who were observed providing compassionate care that humanized the patient’s birthing experience under stressful conditions. Special mention was given to the obstetrician who provided hands on gentle care leading up to the caesarean birth, and the OR circulating nurse who held the patient’s hand while directly communicating about the next steps. All of these actions are part of what it takes to be a Baby-Friendly hospital and ensuring the patient’s perspective is part of the care provided.

The Pregnancy, Birthing and Newborn Centre would like to extend a big thank you to everyone who was involved in the work leading up to this assessment and those who participated in interviews and observations during the assessment period. When the call went out to team members across the organization to prepare St. Paul’s to become Baby-Friendly, many champions from different departments and units eagerly got involved, actively participating and helping to upscale practices and spread awareness.

The BFI team share their thanks

“I am so honored working with a multidisciplinary team who supports Baby-Friendly Initiative. They are passionate in providing evidence based practice supporting breastfeeding that is appropriate to the level of care within the scope of their role”. – Ying Wong, CNL, Maternity​​

“It was absolutely amazing and refreshing to see all of the people from different departments in the organization coming together in these final months and weeks,” says Andrea Firmani, Baby-Friendly Initiative Lead. “After working towards this assessment for the last three years, I do not think we could have had a more succe​ssful assessment for BFI. I am so proud to have been given the opportunity to lead this important work that directly benefits families at St. Paul’s Hospital.”

“The Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) is a well-rounded program that encourages breastfeeding in healthcare facilities. As a volunteer who interacts with both adult and pediatric patients, I noticed that it creates safer and more inclusive environments supporting breastfeeding. Additionally, I am seeing more education and awareness surrounding its benefits on health and mother-baby bonding.” – Rhia, volunteer, Maternity​​

“It’s such a pleasure to lead a dynamic Neonatal Intensive Care Team, that led to a positive and successful adaptation of Neonatal Baby Friendly Initiatives. The team showcased the changes, improved patient and family care. We are very excited to facilitate and continue to inspire families”. – Alaine Vijandre, NICU Clinical Nurse Leader/ Educator​

Stay tuned for the final results!