Giving new mothers peace of mind

January 18, 2017

New breast pump contract enhances patient care and saves money

Breast Pump

A new contract brokered for Saskatchewan by 3sHealth and partners within the healthcare sector will provide extra support to relieve some of the many stressors that accompany the joy of bringing a new little person into the world.

Through a New West Partnership trade agreement, the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba came together to review two types of breast pump. The pump selection committee held table-top vendor presentations in early 2016, which allowed suppliers to bring in products so the group “could feel and touch and see whether this was something that would be good for our province,” says Lori-Ann Litzenberger, contract specialist with 3sHealth.

After completing all their consultations and research, including trials in two health regions, the selection committee chose Mother’s Choice pumps. Litzenberger describes those pumps as user-friendly and simple to use.

In addition to signing a new contract on pumps, the Provincial Infection Control Committee created a series of best practices for cleaning breast pump kits in acute care facilities. In the past, new mothers were unable to re-use some of the plastic parts in the pump attachments causing a lot of waste and unnecessary cost within the system. As a result of new protocols, patients can now keep those parts for the duration of their stays in hospital. This change will allow the province to eliminate costly and unnecessary waste.

Tonia Olson, clinical coordinator of Saskatoon Health Region’s Healthy & Home program, says the breast pumps are an essential healthcare tool for both mothers and babies in Saskatchewan. Feedback about the new pumps has been very positive.“Moms have told us they find the pumps to be easy to use and clean. The pumps are also light-weight and compact for easy storage,” says Olson.

“The new pumps are wonderful,” especially, explains Olson, for women who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to breastfeed their babies directly. “The use of a hospital-grade electric breast pump allows these women to provide breast milk for the baby until the baby is ready to breastfeed.” This is important because it encourages women to provide their breast milk, which the World Health Organization, Health Canada, and the Canadian Paediatric Society recommend as optimal nutrition for the first six months of life, with continued breastfeeding for up to two years and beyond.

Overall, the province saved $295,000 on the new contract and improved patient care.

“We’ve provided a better product for patients, one that enhances their quality of care,” says Litzenberger. “For new moms, sometimes simplicity is the best medicine."

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