Maternity patients educated on demand

Teaching times to become patient's choice

Education on the maternity care unit at Community Hospital East in Indianapolis, IN, will take place on the patient's schedule, rather than the nurses. That's because they soon will have access to on-demand educational programming via the television in their room that will provide access to education on topics such as caring for the new baby, breastfeeding, and safety issues.

These interactive, educational programs will empower patients and help them become more actively engaged in their care, according to Paige Dooley, MSN, MBA, RN, NE-BC, vice president of nursing at Community Hospital East.

"This is an opportunity to reach patients in a different way. The maternity population tends to be younger, and they tend to engage well with technology and the TV," explains Dooley.

When the subject matter is taught by the nurses, patients sometimes feel like it is being pushed on them, Dooley says. It is not something they can access when they are ready or when their husband or significant other is with them, she says.

Once the on-demand system is up and running, the nurses will assign the appropriate education for the patient and be the champion for the use of the tool, says Dooley. Patients will answer questions at the end of the program, and the information will be transferred to an electronic record. In this way, the nurse also will know what the patient has watched. Stops can be placed in the programming that requires patients to answer correctly before further use of the television set. "The opportunity is always available for the nursing staff to have patients verbalize understanding and to do a return demonstration of something when that makes sense," says Dooley. Nothing replaces the nurse at the bedside reinforcing and assessing learning, she adds.

A $30,000 grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust to launch educational programs at the hospital was awarded to the Community Health Network Foundation. The grant and an in-kind donation from the GetWellNetwork, the Bethesda, MD-based company that produces the television-based patient education programs, accounted for about half the cost. The foundation contributed the rest of the money, says Dooley. Programs can be selected from those produced by the company, but videos used by the hospital also can be added.

Dooley estimates it will take a few months to have the system running smoothly, but it will be a valuable asset to patient education. "When you apply principles of adult learning readiness, the patient will get the most out of it and will attend to it when it makes the most sense, on their schedule, not on the nurses," says Dooley.


For more information about the use of on-demand TV programming on a maternity care unit, contact:

Paige Dooley, MSN, MBA, RN, NE-BC, Vice President of Nursing, Community Hospital East, 1500 North Ritter Ave., Indianapolis, IN, 46219. E-mail:

• GetWellNetwork, 7920 Norfolk Ave., 10th Floor, Bethesda, MD 20814-2500. Telephone: (877) 633-8496 or (240) 482-3200. Web: E-mail: