Hallmark Health program teaches new families about shaken baby syndrome

As part of the program, each new mother will also be given a luggage tag with tips on soothing an infant, which they can put on their diaper bags and refer to whenever needed. The luggage tags were purchased in part by a grant from the Wakefield Alliance Against Violence.

"We hope that by giving families the tools to cope with infant crying we can be part of the solution and reduce the number of cases of shaken baby syndrome in Massachusetts," said Carol Downes, director of maternal-newborn services at Hallmark Health's Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. "By offering education we will leave our families better prepared to care for their babies."

Hallmark Health System is taking a system-wide approach to addressing shaken baby syndrome by including a number of departments in their efforts. In addition to Maternal/Newborn Services, Healthy Families, North Suburban Family Network, Hallmark Health Visiting Nurses Association as well as the different OB/GYN and pediatricians' offices will be in involved with the new program.

Hallmark Health has also been working closely with Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone's office, which organized a task force to assist local hospitals with their efforts to combat shaken baby syndrome.

"We have seen first-hand the tragic impact shaken baby syndrome can have on infants and their families," Leone said. "Shaken baby syndrome is a purely preventable form of abuse, and our hope is that by educating parents and caretakers of newborns at the earliest possible stage, we can prevent families from having to endure the known tragic results of this abuse. I commend Hallmark Health System for voluntarily joining this important partnership and for their commitment to protecting the children that they care for."

Maternal-Newborn Services at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital has been the leading provider of maternal care for more than 100 years. Specialized care is available close to home at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital's Level II Special Care Nursery, an affiliation with Tufts Medical Center that provides a higher level of care and scope of services than those provided in the newborn nursery. The Special Care Nursery is staffed 24 hours a day by neonatologists and specially trained neonatal registered nurses.

For information about Hallmark Health, visit www.hallmarkhealth.org.

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Hallmark Health System is the premier, charitable provider of vital health services to Boston's northern communities. The system includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford, Melrose Wakefield Hospital, Melrose, Hallmark Health Cancer Center, Stoneham, The CHEM Center for MRI, Stoneham, Hallmark Health Medical Center, Reading, Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice, Malden, Lawrence Memorial/Regis College Nursing and Radiography Programs, Medford, and Ell Pond Medical Associates. Hallmark Health is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital for cardiology and Tufts Medical Center for neonatology.



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