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LA Hospitals Embrace QI Challenge

June 19, 2019

At the recent Gift Statewide Hospital Summit on May 3rd, Louisiana birth facilities were challenged to implement a small test of change to complement ongoing quality improvement (QI) activities.  A representative from each hospital shared what their team planned to “Test by Tuesday” using a Plan Do Study Act (PDSA) cycle. The most popular test of change was delaying the baby’s bath for 12 hours or more. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends delaying baths until 24 hours after birth.

After the “Test by Tuesday” period, Ochsner Medical Center – West Bank Campus in Terrytown, shared that as part of their PDSA, a mother was educated before the birth on the risks of immediately bathing the baby. As part of her education, Ochsner developed a sign (see below) listing the advantages of delaying the bath such as; baby stays warm, mom and baby stay together, reduces stress, improves baby’s blood sugar levels, decreases baby’s weight loss and risk of jaundice. She was also informed that vernix, the white creamy substance coating baby’s skin, prevents infections and moisturizes baby’s skin. The results of the PDSA were positive and staff identified additional test cycles including, additional patient education materials such as crib cards and using a tub for immersion baths. At a recent journal club, hospital staff met to discuss a Journal of Neonatal Nursing article about the impact of delaying newborn baths.

Ruth Cardoza at Jennings American Legion Hospital shared that during their “test” cycle, most moms were waiting more than 12 hours to have their baby bathed and several nurses noted an increase in stabilization of the baby’s temperature.

To promote the delay the bath practice among families, Ochsner LSU Shreveport in Monroe, staff created a crib card (image attached) with the statement, “My mom is protecting me by delaying my bath!” 

Staff at East Jefferson General Hospital recently wrote a proposal for an evidence-based research project investigating potential benefits to delaying the first infant bath, click here to access the proposal.

Gift participating birth facilities have access to quality improvement tools, coaching, and a bank of sample PDSA cycles. For more information, please visit

Delay the Bath sign developed by Ochsner Health System

Crib card at Ochsner LSU Shreveport – Monroe Medical Facility

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