A smart invention for new moms

For Ashli Pershing, BSN, RN, CLC, birth planner/lactation consultant, Parkview Wabash Hospital and Pam Sprowl, BSN, RNC-OB, Family Birthing Center, Parkview Huntington Hospital, moms and babies are the No. 1 priority. Each day, they strive to promote healing and help maintain their patients’ confidence, spirit and sense of normalcy after one of the most life-changing events a woman can experience – delivering a baby. So when they noticed an issue that was interfering with their patients’ healing, physically and psychosocially, they came together to find a solution.

The problem

The ice packs that are currently available for women after delivery do not absorb or provide enough coverage. Because they don’t absorb, mothers are immediately concerned by their perception of “lots of blood” in the pad.

This concern leads to the creation of makeshift solutions involving multiple pads and homemade remedies, such as “ice diapers” and “ice gloves”, which might not be the safest option. These solutions, such as using multiple pads, can also be hard to manage, compromise modesty and independence, and become messy quickly.

Though they’d found workarounds, Ashli and Pam weren’t satisfied. They wanted a safer, more reliable product for their patients in their time of need.  

The solution

The pair designed a T-shaped pad with an opening to insert ice chips or a breakable chemical pack. Their product boasts better absorbency, costs less, provides protection, feels more comfortable and supports modesty for the patient.

The pad is designed to follow the current evidence-based practice, which is to apply ice packs for 10-20-minute intervals. Cold packs may cause skin breakdown or freezer burn, but localized cooling can improve pain relief and decrease edema. With a pouch for these cooling mechanisms, this new pad design would support safe pain relief for new moms.

The process

The pair presented their idea to Parkview leaders, who immediately saw the value and potential. “The whole process was new and foreign to us,” Pam said. “We worked on the design of the product - what it should look like, what it should do. Parkview helped us develop the product and work through the patent process.”

The idea of being true inventors is still settling in for the pair. “’Entrepreneur’ is a funny word for both of us, and I don’t think we’ve really attached that to our names,” Ashli shared. “When we filled out the patent application, we were listed as ‘inventor’, and that was fun for us. We really just want to take care of patients and love on people.”

The momentum behind their idea has sparked a spirit of innovation among others in their area as well. “People have ideas to improve patient care. It’s empowering to have buy-in from your employer,” Pam said. “I love working for Parkview. I don’t know what it costs to get a product out there, but I couldn’t have done it on my own, so I appreciate everything they’ve done.”

And for her part, Ashli is encouraging others to share their observations around improving the patient experience. “Have confidence. Don’t be afraid to put it out there and collaborate,” she said. “The worst thing that can happen is people say they don’t like your idea.”

 

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