Breast milk tracking system added to IWK wish list
Barcodes to replace hand labels
The IWK Health Centre says it plans to buy a breast milk tracking system for its neo-natal unit to ensure the right bottles of pumped breast milk get to the right babies in time.
For now nurses manually label the milk, but this week the children's hospital put out a call for an electronic system.
The program uses bar codes and handheld scanning devices to track breast milk stored in the hospital's refrigerators.
Darlene Inglis, manager of the IWK neo-natal intensive care unit, said the fridges can be full of bottles for more than 50 babies and there's a lot of information connected to each one.
"It is a body fluid. We would want to ensure that babies get the right milk. We're always striving for better quality and patient safety so this is one way we can help prevent those errors from occurring," she said.
"We want to make sure babies get colostrum and that’s the first kind of milk that mom's secrete, it helps babies’ immunities. So you want babies to have that kind of milk first. So we label that milk differently. This is milk that's colostrum milk as opposed to this is more mature milk. We can also look at the expiry dates so we know if this milk expires that will the next feed that we use. When a mom goes home we'll be able to make sure she gets her breast milk to go home with and the exact number of bottles are there."
IWK officials said they hope to buy the new system this fall and have it up and running this winter.
If a breast milk bank is ever set up the new system could also be used to track donations.