Monday, August 24, 2009

Prevention: Another DVD reports that parenting educators in Staffordshire, with support from the Queen's Nursing Institute and the West Midlands Innovation Fund, will be creating a DVD to educate new parents and students about the causes, consequences and prevention of SBS.

The DVD will be piloted in 5 local high schools.

Hopefully, they will look around to see what's been done already...
Future parents in south Staffordshire are to be given new life skills educational support and advice about the dangers of rough handling and shaking babies to help prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Stop That Shake – Babies Break! – is a innovative project set up between South Staffordshire Primary Care Trust’s (PCT) and Torc Vocational Centre, Tamworth. Project leads Janine McKnight, Specialist Community Public Health Practitioner for South Staffordshire PCT and Alison Mennell, Health Tech Project Co-ordinator, of Torc, will also be working with safeguarding teams, police, paediatricians and students from Torc Vocational Centre.

The project has been given a £7,500 cash boost from the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) and NHS West Midlands Innovation Fund to develop a DVD covering the cause, consequences, risks and prevention factors around Shaken Baby Syndrome.
* * *
In addition to funding Janine and Alison, who is also a nurse and midwife, will be given professional leadership support and enjoy project management training from QNI and West Midlands Innovation Fund team to develop their unique project.

It sounds like a great project, and the project staff surely have good intentions, but it doesn't seem that creating a DVD about SBS prevention is a "unique" project.

Now, if the DVD is useful and informative, and helps parents talk to other caregivers about the need for a coping plan, AND they put it on YouTube for parents and students around the world to use, that might do qualify it as "unique"...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

New Zealand: Increased Child Abuse Drives SBS Prevention Program

The New Zealand Sunday Herald reports on research by doctors Patrick Kelly, Judith MacCormick and health board social worker Rebecca Strange that looks at increasing rates of child abuse in NZ and the failure of child protection services to cope with that increase. Link to PubMed abstract (not surprisingly, it has a somewhat different emphasis).

One encouraging sign: the adoption of a shaken baby prevention program.

Dr Patrick Kelly, a paediatrician at Starship children's hospital, said there were great hopes the programme would save lives. In it parents will be spoken to "in the first few days after [the birth] to talk about the dangers of shaking a baby". They would then have to sign a sheet of paper acknowledging the discussion and the ways to avoid abuse. If successful, the pilot scheme may be rolled out across the country. In the United States it has resulted in a 40 per cent reduction in abuse. Health professionals at Starship hope to have it running by the end of this year. The Shaken Baby Prevention Programme is being funded by the Ministry of Social Development, and is based on a programme developed by US professor Mark Dias. Kelly said the programme was suited to New Zealand's independent midwife network. The trial was awaiting the appointment of key staff and development of material such as a video.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Surviving SBS: Jack Koller, Boulder, CO

From 9News. com in Boulder, Colorrado, another remarkable story of survival.

About half-way through the story, the reporters added the word "preventing" to a quote by the maternal grandmother. She had apparently said she was going to become "a huge advocate for abuse and shaken baby syndrome".

A small thing, but in a way it's telling: those who suddenly find themselves volunteers in the effort to prevent inflicted injury often lack the words to move the focus from consequences to the prevention.

Family determined to bring good out of baby's survival story
by: Jeffrey Wolf and: Cheryl Preheim

BOULDER - A 2-month-old who doctors did not think would survive was released from the
hospital on Monday evening.

His father, 27-year-old Ben Koller, is in jail accused of shaking, hitting, biting and suffocating his infant son. Social Services has given custody of Baby Jack to his grandmother, Claudia Riggs, his mom's mother. "I am just glad he's home," Riggs said. "The first few days they told us that he wasn't going to survive.

But everyday he's been amazing us. He just keeps getting better and better." The 2-month-old has survived what seemed like the impossible. "Three weeks ago, if you would have seen him, you would have thought it was time to plan a funeral," said Mark Schmidt, the baby's grandfather, also on his mother's side.

Jack Koller had a fractured skull and couldn't breathe or eat on his own. He was also blind, but has regained his sight. "The MRI showed significant brain damage," Schmidt said. "It's horrendous. The one person who was supposed to be protecting was the person he knew to have the most fear about."

Police say Koller shook the baby when he wouldn't stop crying. Koller is being held at the Boulder County Jail on a $1 million bond. He faces charges of child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury.

Now, after 20 days at The Children's Hospital in Aurora, Riggs and Jack got to leave together. Riggs says they leave with a greater purpose. "He was happy to walk outside," she said. "It would be my hope that this would never happen again to another child. Somehow we are going to make really good things come out of this."

At home in Boulder, gifts were waiting from friends to help Riggs, who has just left her job as a ibrarian to be a full-time grandma to care for Jack. "I know I am going to become a huge advocate for [preventing] abuse and shaken baby syndrome. I may have a new career," she said.

Jack's mother is 20 years old and says she did not know about the abuse. She will be allowed to have supervised visits and she is getting parenting classes and counseling.

As for Jack's long term prognosis, doctors say they'll know more with time but he could have challenges with walking, talking and could have learning disabilities. But he's already shown he's a fighter so his family expects great things.

While Baby Jack still has a long recovery ahead, at least he gets to continue it at home. "This is a wonderful day. He is a miracle," Riggs said. As she held him in her arms, she told him, "We are all here to protect you and take care of you."

Riggs wants to make sure every day is a day they can look forward too. "Grandma is going to give you a bath tomorrow. We have a big day planned," she said. "I just want Jack to know he's very loved. I want to one day take him for a walk in the park. It will be a special day when that day comes," Schmidt said.