A longer article from the Preeclampsia Foundation will be posted by the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWOHNN) in May. Here are the highlights. A survey or our members brought to light the following top 10 ways nurses can be sensitive and helpful to preeclampsia patients.
1) Thank you for educating me to know the symptoms and how dangerous preeclampsia can be.
2) Thank you for being willing to listen and learn from the women you care for.
A nurse from the University of Illinois Medical Center asked the Preeclampsia Foundation, "What do you think we, as nurses, could do to support patients when they are in a situation (preeclamptic pregnancy) similar to yours?"
We wondered aloud and nearly three dozen survivors responded via Facebook and our online Community Forum to share their experiences and provide their suggestions to the nursing profession. While there was very vocal appreciation for the majority of nurses who have cared for our women, there were also many helpful suggestions. Based on patient input, here are:
Top 10 Ways Nurses Can Support Preeclampsia Patients:
1. Know the symptoms, educate your patients. Know how dangerous preeclampsia can be, know the full breadth of possible symptoms, and be proactive about diagnosing and managing it. The Foundation's motto "Know the Symptoms, Trust Yourself" is targeted at pregnant women, but as healthcare ...
Posted in Health Information on December 05, 2012 by Administrator
By Dr. Anne Wallis ~ Who remembers the first season ER episode "Love's Labours Lost"? The answer: pretty much anyone who ever watched ER! In the episode, a pregnant woman presents to the emergency room with a complaint of bladder problems, has a seizure and later dies. This was my first exposure to the hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Eclampsia is, thankfully, rare, but it carries a high case fatality rate for the mother and/or the infant. Gestational hypertension and preeclampsia are far more common, affecting between 5% and 8% of all pregnancies in the US. Moreover, these conditions are on the rise and globally, these conditions are a leading cause of maternal and infant illness and death.
Obstetric providers are acutely aware of the dangers of preeclampsia because of its potential severity and rapidity of onset and progression, making high-quality prenatal ...
Preeclampsia Foundation volunteers in different parts of the country have been taking advantage of Perinatal Outreach Educator Networks to disseminate information about the Preeclampsia Foundation and advocate for more patient education.
An unexpected outcome from one of these discussions came from Maripat Zeschke, RNC-EFM, MSN, LC who is the Perinatal Network Administrator at the University of Illinois Administrative Perinatal Center. She asked a simple, but powerful, question of the preeclampsia survivors who were presenting: "What do you think we, as nurses, could do to support patients when they are in a situation similar to yours?"
Zeschke said that her question "comes from a long history of being committed to patients. Nursing is the perfect blend of art and science, and being at the bedside is the essence of the art. I've seen so many patients with devastating preeclamptic stories, and I think it's amazing when survivors can relive it on a regular ...
Posted in Research on September 30, 2012 by Administrator
Principal Investigator Nihar R. Nayak, DVM, PhD, Stanford University, recently reported successful progress in his efforts to better understand the role of certain placental proteins in the development of preeclampsia. His 2011 Vision Grant research project aimed to see how proteins act in the placenta during preeclampsia. In Nayak's multi-stage investigation, he first needed to develop a new method using a mouse model system to study the roles of specific proteins in placental function and disease, as well as testing novel therapeutic approaches to preeclampsia. In his model, protein expressions can be seen in all stages of pregnancy.
Nayak's team has also developed a way to study how genes act in the placentas of mice. Genes play an important part in the development of the placenta during pregnancy. Better ways to see how abnormal genes act will help us learn more about what causes the amount of certain proteins to be higher ...
By Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway ~ October is Patient Centric Care Month, a term you will likely see more of as our healthcare system moves further into the 21st century. What does 21st century healthcare look like? It means that all of your records will be computerized and not on paper. It means that you will receive your "chart" on a flash drive so that when if you leave your physician's office and go to a hospital, your health records remain with you. Gone will be the days when your labs will have to be repeated because no one can locate your prenatal chart. Repeating labs is not only annoying, it's costly.
"Patient Centric Care" means that the emphasis will no longer center on your physician. Or a hospital. Or an ambulatory care center. It will be centered on you, the patient. Why? Because at the end of the day, if you're not well, if the outcome was less than expected, then the system has failed. The $2.3 trillion dollars spent each year on healthcare has not ...
Patient-centric care, a buzzword in healthcare reform, should be the obvious goal for any health care system. "What a concept," I utter with a hint of sarcasm. Put the patient at the center of the decisions, resources and desired outcomes?!
However, patient-centric care is also dependent on a related concept: the "empowered patient," a subject CNN medical correspondent and fellow preeclampsia survivor Elizabeth Cohen writes about in her column and book, The Empowered Patient, available in our Marketplace.
An empowered patient is one who has the information she needs to act proactively upon her preeclampsia symptoms. She also has an effective relationship with her care provider(s) so she can communicate her concerns, ask questions, comply knowingly with agreed upon treatments, ...
Posted in Volunteer Happenings on August 03, 2012 by Administrator
What was your experience with preeclampsia?
I had preeclampsia with both of my pregnancies. With my first child, I was not made aware of the symptoms of this condition, so when I started having side pains, I just thought I had a cramp, nothing serious. I had gained a significant amount of weight, but had no basis of comparison, so I believed it to be just the nature of being pregnant. I went from 115 lbs to 180 lbs and assumed that was normal. I was swollen, short of breath, and generally unhappy. By the time the high blood pressure became a threat, it became significantly high. Because my proteins showed up during a routine visit and at about 28 weeks, I was put on bed rest, and was administered Labetalol to manage my blood pressure. After I gave birth at 35 weeks with my eldest daughter, I was told I had been preeclamptic but that it was "not a big deal." I was reassured it does not necessarily happen with every pregnancy, so I was told, for my next ...
Posted in Research on August 02, 2012 by Caryn
The hypertensive complications of pregnancy are divided into four distinct classifications: Preeclampsia/eclampsia, Chronic hypertension, preeclampsia superimposed on chronic hypertension, and gestational hypertension. Many people are perplexed by the term "superimposed preeclampsia" which is preeclampsia complicating hypertension of another cause, most commonly chronic or "essential" hypertension. However women with hypertension associated with ...
Posted in Heard on the Hill on July 02, 2012 by Administrator
Last week, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as the "health reform law." This means that implementation of this landmark legislation can continue to move forward. However, the law continues to be the subject of debate through this year's presidential and congressional election cycle, and depending on the election results could be altered by Congress and the White House in the future. As it currently stands, the law directly benefits childbearing women and newborns by:
- prohibiting the use of pregnancy as a preexisting condition by health insurance providers;
- widening access to certified nurse-midwives by eliminating inequities in how they are reimbursed under Medicare;
- paying for home visits by nurses for at-risk families during or after ...
That was my goal with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I was given to present one of three President's Program lectures at the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists' Annual Clinical Meeting.
"Patient Perspectives on Preeclampsia" - or as I joked, "lessons from this side of the stirrups" - was well-received by the standing-room-only crowd in the main auditorium of the San Diego Convention Center. More importantly, the many comments I received after the lecture satisfied me that I achieved my objective - to reach their hearts with compelling, real-life stories illustrating the impact preeclampsia has on mothers, fathers, and babies; and to reach their minds by inspiring clinical practice behaviors that include educating each and every expectant mother with non-alarmist, but sound information about the ...
Professors Chris Redman and Isabel Walker, co-authors of Pre-eclampsia: The Facts (Oxford University Press 1992) and co-founders of Action on Pre-eclampsia (APEC) in the UK, are seeking input from members of the Preeclampsia Foundation for their latest book, The Pre-eclampsia Survival Guide.
The new book, also co-authored by Joyce Cowan, a midwife who is Director of New Zealand APEC (NZAPEC), will be a comprehensive guide to pre-eclampsia for women and midwives. It will cover everything from historical theories to current treatments; from causation to detection; from prevention to management. It will be rooted very firmly in the real experiences of women who have suffered pre-eclampsia - and that's where you come in.
The authors are keen to illustrate their key points with real life case histories gathered from several different parts of the world. You could be part of this process by contributing to
May and Mother's Day are so intertwined that it's hard to think about one without the other, especially here at the Preeclampsia Foundation, where we've built a nationwide campaign at www.promisewalk.org/campaign to get the word out about preeclampsia - the "thing" that for many survivors turned our entrance into motherhood into a nightmare.
I believe celebrating mothers is a commemoration of extremes. Not just because preeclampsia is an extreme condition, but because the mothers I am ...
Posted in Heard on the Hill on April 04, 2012 by Administrator
During the week of March 26, 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments about the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as the Health Reform Law. As the Preeclampsia Foundation continues to advocate before state and federal policymakers on maternal health issues, we are watching closely to understand what affect the Court's decision(s) will have on women and their families.
The following is an overview of the key questions being considered by the Court after three days of debate - the longest hearing on a single case heard by the Supreme Court since 1966.
Should the law even be considered by the Court at this time - the Anti-Injunction Act? The court must determine whether the case can be decided now, or whether the court must wait until 2015, when the tax provisions of the law (individual mandate requiring individuals to purchase health insurance) go into effect. ...
The October 2011 issue of Expectations (featuring patient-centered care month) highlighted two powerful, silver-screen accounts of parents confronted with the unthinkable: a child's health crisis with no known cure leading doctors to tell them "there is nothing more we can do." Those simple words - and the prospect that there was no hope - prompted these every-day parents to take on the most important "projects" of their lives: saving the lives of their children.
These extreme examples of patient advocacy provide a humbling reminder of how important our own voices - and understanding of our conditions - are in our individual health care (during pregnancy and otherwise).
In thinking about patient advocacy in relation to my own pregnancy, I am ashamed I didn't ask more questions when I was ordered to take my first (and then second!) 24-hour urine test. I didn't know that a 24-hour urine test wasn't routine, and my doctor was certainly not offering up any ...
Posted in Volunteer Happenings on February 06, 2012 by Administrator
For Dallas-area volunteer Nicole Purnell, fundraising for the Preeclampsia Foundation is nothing new: she is currently in her fourth year as the Dallas-Ft. Worth Promise Walk Coordinator. So when she and her family decided to do another fundraiser for the Foundation, they decided to try something entirely different, and catered to their home state of Texas: a clay-shooting tournament to be held March 10.
"Of course, I realize that shooting clays is not an activity for everyone's taste, but this IS Texas after all!" explained Purnell. In organizing the event, she and her stepfather, who is co-hosting the tournament, realized that this would be a unique opportunity to pull in a different crowd than that of the Promise Walks for fundraising and awareness.
"My stepdad is a retired Navy SEAL and has many friends who enjoy clay shooting," Purnell said. "I had been wanting to do a clay shoot event for some time, and then, one day I got my daily Groupon ...
Posted in Volunteer Happenings on February 04, 2012 by Administrator
Perinatal Outreach Educator Networks (POENs) are generally funded by individual states to provide perinatal (the care offered to a mother and child just before and just after birth) medical education to health care providers in the region, enhancing the quality of care for mothers and infants and reducing morbidity and mortality. Specialists share their experience and knowledge with other physicians and community hospitals across regions by offering or facilitating programs such as physician and nurse consultation services, continuing education for health care professionals, emergency medical transport for referring hospitals within the region, consultation and technical assistance on emerging perinatal issues, and sometimes even lending libraries.
For example, in Illinois, there are 10 perinatal centers designated by the state. Rush Hospital in Chicago is home to the the largest network, involving 18 hospitals delivering more than 30,000 infants. The Rush Perinatal ...
Posted in Research on December 04, 2011 by Caryn
Currently there's no way to know for certain whether preeclampsia will develop during any given pregnancy. This leaves pregnant women and their care providers with little choice but to wait for symptoms to appear... dangerous symptoms that mean the disease has progressed to the point where mother and baby are critically ill and will need intensive monitoring and carefully timed delivery to protect their health and lives. The only screening method to date is to measure those symptoms when they appear.
Early detection wouldn't be a treatment. But what if a screening test could let us know, weeks or even months in advance, that we'd probably be getting ill? Knowing might change the way we seek care - possibly choosing specialist care providers with the education and experience to manage medically complicated pregnancies. Women in parts of the world (like
I often call myself the "poster child" for the power of education. When you juxtapose my first pregnancy, managed by a very nice, somewhat elderly doctor who euphemistically patted me on the head and made me feel like everything was always all right, against my second pregnancy, managed by an equally nice, albeit younger and more knowledgeable doctor, there are some startling differences beyond age and experience that have everything to do with patient-provider communication (yes, they were both men so ditch the gender stereotypes).
Both pregnancies resulted in severe pre-term preeclampsia. In the first, my baby died. In the second, my baby lived, albeit with a two-week stay at Hotel NICU. There are obviously lots of nuances to each of my pregnancies, but as I look back, I can say with certainty that one of the critical factors for a successful pregnancy is the patient/provider ...
Posted in Research on July 03, 2011 by Caryn
A new study came out this month evaluating supplementation of l-arginine as a means of reducing preeclampsia risk. There was a lot of media coverage – you probably had friends and relatives sending you articles like this – and there’s been some discussion of it on the Preeclampsia Foundation forums as well.
Why did researchers think this might work? Well, partly for the same reason that