Becoming a Baby-Friendly™ designated hospital is not a quick process. There are many requirements and moving parts. Because it’s a long process, so much can fall by the wayside over a few years. Therefore, here are some reasons why I often recommend is a mock assessment for aspiring Baby-Friendly hospitals.
A reality check about readiness
Above all, mock assessments for aspiring Baby-Friendly hospitals are a good way to evaluate whether an organization is ready for the official assessment, without the same pressures.
At one time, I was an “official” Baby-Friendly assessor. Nowadays, when I perform these mock assessments, I serve as a consultant for the hospital. My assessment helps the staff and administration to form a clearer idea of what they’ll face when the official Baby-Friendly assessors come. I can provide insight as to what assessors will be looking for and how a hospital is likely to be evaluated.
Weaknesses in implementation
So many hospitals make a very solid plan for achieving the Baby-Friendly designation. And they may implement most of it exceedingly well. But they don’t always see their weaknesses in the implementation phase.
A mock assessment for aspiring Baby-Friendly hospitals helps the director, lactation consultants, and many people on the staff to recognize the biggest weaknesses in their care practices. By that, I mean that no hospital is equally strong on all ten of the steps. From my snapshot, I am more likely to see what’s going well and what needs improvement. (When you’re in the thick of it every day, that’s harder to see.)
There’s always some room for improvement. Going further, I can give very specific ideas on how to start turning those weaknesses into strengths.
It’s very gratifying for me when the director says that she now knows where to put her time, money and energy. That’s key for any program, right? And, that’s my main aim in offering mock assessments for aspiring Baby-Friendly hospitals.
Cost-benefit from a program development perspective
Also, people do worry about the cost of “going Baby-Friendly.” That’s understandable. But a mock assessment for aspiring Baby-Friendly hospitals provides important benefits.
People talk about the Baby-Friendly program, and that’s key to understanding how to achieve the designation. Unlike a project, a program has largely intangible benefits; the “deliverables” are not a tangible piece of equipment or a stack of papers. Programs result in outcomes or impact. Although the outcomes certainly could be tangible, they are more often about a cultural change, or a shift in the way an organization works.
As a consultant for hospitals that are aspiring to gain Baby-Friendly designation, I try to help these hospitals see that change, or shift. Few nurses — and even fewer lactation consultants — have any experience with developing or evaluating programs.
A mock assessment for aspiring Baby-Friendly hospitals can be hugely helpful. Could they achieve the designation without my help? Sure. But I truly believe I can help them to reach their goal sooner, and with less expenditure of time and money. For more information about the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, click here.
How can I help your aspiring Baby-Friendly hospital achieve designation? Tell me in the comments below, or call my office!