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Infant Death Policy Analysis

Introduction

Despite modern medicine is an advanced branch of social care, it still has problematic issues. Partially, the problems depend on the society whereas in some cases they are the diseases or patients’ conditions. Thus, medicine may require additional policies helping to combat the health care issues. Currently, one of the varieties of cases is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUID). There is a need for the development of contemporary policy responding the issue of SUID. Despite the government assisted in resolving the issue with the releases of legal initiatives addressing the issue, they should be extended. Moreover, there is a necessity for the involvement of responsible organizations capable of improving the theoretical base of the proposed legal act. This paper explores the introduction of a SUID addressed policy from perspective of a hospital, namely Chief Nursing Officer at Florida Hospital Orlando. Moreover, it supports the proposed policy change since it would enhance the existing knowledge and methods of the SUID management.

History of the Issue

The reasons for the agreement with proposed program are supported with the historic review of the issue. Gelfer (2014) indicates that the issue of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome has been bothering health care practitioners for a long time. Moreover, it has become a particular focus of the researches since various hazards exist in the sleeping environment of the infant. The statistics inform that infant deaths are characterized with systematic occurrence and a comparatively high ratio. In particular, Hays (2013) claims that over 4,500 infants die suddenly on a yearly basis without any identifiable cause. Moreover, in Florida, over 200 infants suffered from SUID in 2010. Therefore, it is evident that the statistics demonstrate the need for the introduction of the suggested policy.

Despite CS/SB 56 proposes substituting the name of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome with Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUID), the problem requires significantly more efforts to cope with it. 

Moreover, the key policy events of the issue demonstrate a direct correlation between the rising skills of nurses and decrease of infant death cases. For instance, Gelfer (2014) revealed that empowering health care practitioners with information on the factors that might result in sudden death of the infant increased the level of provided care. Therefore, it may be assumed that the applied policy should have been enough for addressing the issue of the infant death. 

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There are examples of the implementation of similar policies, which improved the state of the addressed issue. Thus, the first legal act addressing the problem of infant death was released in 1974. Its effect was the reducing of SIDS associated deaths as well as education of families, which had lost their infants (Hays, 2013). Moreover, National Conference of State Legislatures (“Sudden unexpected infant death legislation,” 2015) provided a survey of all SUID addressed programs in the US. Among them are Florida Statutes § 383.311, 383.3362, and 395.1053, which assist in the implementation of the discussed policy. Their performance enhanced the staff training procedures regarding the cases of SUID, which boosted the reduction of SUID associated deaths. Therefore, there is a need for the implementation of the discussed policy throughout the local hospitals in Florida as well as at DC. Likewise, the review notes that medical and legal practitioners are concerned about this necessity and are ready to assist in the realization of the issue. The review indicates that the policy increases the local and global awareness of the issue and provides health care practitioners with valid information of their efficacy and its dynamics. Consequently, it assures the theoretical premises and the practice of safe infant sleep aimed at the reduction of death cases. In addition, it requires additional explanations of the financial issues in order to spread the policy among the stakeholders throughout the hospitals.

Financial Data

The review of the literature investigating the financial basis of SUID addressed programs revealed that financial data should be explored. Thus, one of the common issues related to the problem might be insufficient funding. The reason for this presumption is that most programs are directed towards informing through websites or free surveys. Partially, this approach is correct. However, such programs must provide financial assistance to medical experiments connected with the issue. This statement can be taken in cases when scholars terminate their experiences due to delayed or insufficient financial support. For instance, scientists indicate that a study related to SUID conducted in a period from 1995 to 1997 was stopped earlier than planned due to financial problems (Jonville-Béra, Autret-Leca, Barbeillon, & Paris-Llado, 2001). Therefore, infant-related and long-term studies in particular may require adequate financial support from the government and responsible financial institutions. For instance, Florida Hospital spent about $2.3 billion on its operations, which included the average expenditure of $2,500 daily (“Hospital finance basics,” 2013). The major domains of its expenses included salaries and wages (50%), supplies (22%), fees (8%), depreciation, amortization and interest expense (8%), purchased services (8%), and other (8%). Currently, the “other” expenses include utilities, telephones, rents, insurance, and releases (“Hospital finance basics,” 2013). 

As a Chief Nursing Officer, one would suggest financing the proposed policy. Regarding the average expense ratio at the hospital, the results of such financing would be significant even if the expenses would reach a maximum of 5%. At the same time, one presumes that the financial support of this program from the side of Florida Hospital would serve its best in the future. Its major implications for a hospital include the benefit from the reduced quantity of insurance expenses related to the cases of sudden infant death.  

Major Stakeholders

The major stakeholders of the program are mainly those engaged in a hospital work. Among them are nurses, health care facilities, emergency units and first responders, caregivers of infants, and health care providers. Additionally, the primary stakeholders are parents of infants and pregnant women. It is of crucial importance to inform the stakeholders about the recent information regarding SUID since they may provide emergency assistance or prevent these cases. Therefore, there is a need for any SUID addressed program to implement the requirement of timely informing the stakeholders about its details.

Related Factors

The policy should include the analysis of the factors related to SUID. Thus, any SUID addressed program should be supported by all political powers due to the fact that children’s life is a primary value. Moreover, there should be restriction from its usage as a means of political advertising since it is ethically inappropriate. Additionally, the program should be socially safe since it takes some amount of the expenditures of the hospitals. Therefore, an adequate evaluation of the hospital’s budget is necessary in order not to harm other social categories of people by reducing their level of care. Likewise, there is a need for a survey regarding the concerns of the stakeholders. The reason is that the hospital personnel might require additional knowledge or equipment in order to timely resolve the cases involving SUID. This aspect is especially crucial for emergency units since they can save the lives of infants. Moreover, the studies and survey preceding the implementation of the program should evaluate the level of knowledge of parents and pregnant women. The suggested aspects may enhance the efficiency of the proposed policy. Therefore, their consideration may drastically improve the situation in the prevention of SUID. 

Policy Intervention Options

The options for the intervention of the policy are the analysis of the existing policies and their implementation or the development of a unique program. The latter means that the proposed initiatives will be mainly based on the scientific studies. The evaluation of other programs may allow implementing the aspects approved as valid in practice. Therefore, combining the existing programs with updates scientific data would allow increasing the efficiency of the SUID addressed program.

As aforementioned, National Conference of State Legislatures provided a summary of dozens of programs, which are efficient in the sphere of their implementation. Therefore, picking the most successful ones would be the best alternative for managing the issue. The alternative to this approach is the requirement of a hospital that provides birthing services. Furthermore, Hays (2013) suggests incorporating the data on safe sleep practices and the possible causes of SUID into the hospital’s postpartum instruction on the care of newborns.

Proposed Recommendations

The program suggests ensuring that nurses are in a position to provide efficient care to both the infant and his parents. This intervention should be achieved through addressing socio-economic gaps in the nurses working in economically disadvantaged areas that provide valid tools and resources.

Nursing Implications

The implications of the program have certain advantages and disadvantages. Thus, its positive effect is that nurses will have motivation for the change of their practices regarding the placement of the infant while he is sleeping (McMullen, Lipke, & LeMura, 2009). However, it lacks clear guidelines regarding the implementation of the practices. Thus, McMullen et al. (2009) claim that there is no outline for gestation or the psychological aspects that should be considered with regard to how to place a sleeping baby. Therefore, the programs should be more attentive towards the needs of nurses and hospital practitioners. 

Conclusion

Summarizing the presented information, there is a need for the realization of the proposed policy, which addresses SUID. The analysis of the proposed program proves that it is valid and relevant regarding modern realities of medicine. Thus, its implementation at the Florida Hospital requires additional financing. The study suggests that the increase on the financing of the policy might drastically improve the issue. Moreover, it is expected to have positive social and financial implications approved with the cases that involve the adoption of the associated legislations. For instance, the implementation of the analyzed program would allow timely informing the stakeholders of the SUID interventions. Consequently, this measure would contribute to the reduction of expenditures related to compensation fees in cases of SUID. However, the analysis of the relevant issues demonstrates that the proposed program should be more attentive to the needs of nurses. Therefore, the review supports the adoption of the suggested policy. Its result would meet the demands of the stakeholders, significantly reducing SUID ratio.

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