Indiana puts its focus on protecting children

Written by David Milen. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on November 16, 2011 with No Comments

Indiana’s high infant mortality rate due to accidental suffocation deaths during 1999 to 2004, made Indiana the second-highest ranked state for accidental suffocation (among the states with stable rates).

The acronym SIDS stands for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome; s SUIDS stands for Sudden Unexplained Infant Death.

From 1999 to 2006, Lake County had a significantly higher proportion of infant deaths (92 percent) related to SUIDS and unknown causes of death compared to other major counties in Indiana.

The students of the Indiana University Northwest School of Nursing (IUNSON) first initiated a SIDS/SUIDS education project targeted towards nurses in Northwest Indiana. The IUNSON team developed a goal and a plan of action to educate the local community about SIDS/SUIDS based on the statistics.

The project was done with senior BSN students in their management rotation, the students who participated will graduate in either December 2011 or May 2012 in the second phase of the project. The first phase included developing a brochure for staff in hospitals, and then educating them regarding SIDS/SUIDS.

The thought behind this project is, if nurses are fully informed and confident in their knowledge, they will be better able to educate patients and the general public about SIDS/SUIDS.

Following the success of that program, IUNSON students decided to undertake an even larger project, reaching out to the general public. We realize many members of the community may not come into contact with a nurse. Mothers may receive education on SIDS/SUIDS risk reduction in birthing classes or as part of postpartum teaching; however, many other members of the community who didn’t receive this education may care for an infant.

This concerned us because, as previously stated, SIDS/SUIDS is the No. 1 cause of death in infants. The students decided that in order to educate community members, they would need to reach out to them. Thus, the SIDS/SUIDS project was born.

In an effort to further educate young and single parents in the Northwest Indiana region, it is imperative to include many facilities where homeless, pregnant teens, victims of domestic violence, prenatal care, and other facilities that include young parents and teens.

Some of the facilities that are targeted: St. Clare Health Clinic, prenatal clinic; Calumet Township Multipurpose Center, an emergency shelter-for men, women, and children; Crisis Center, Inc., a homeless shelter for the youth; Haven House, Inc., a domestic violence shelter for women; St. Monica Home, a home for pregnant teens; St. Jude House, Inc., a domestic violence & homeless shelter; Birth Choice, servicing pregnant women and teens; WIC Headquarters, the nutrition program that serves Women, Infants and Children; Planned Parenthood of Indiana; Merrillville Calumet and East Chicago high schools; WJOB Radio Station; Stack and Van Til supermarkets; East Chicago Health Department.

Finally, in keeping up with our technological times, a Facebook page was designed with links to IU Northwest and IU Northwest School of Nursing, and a poster presentation will be done at IU Northwest School of Nursing Health Fair, Friday, Nov. 18 and at the NWIPSC meeting on Friday. Dec. 2.

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About David Milen

David Milen is executive director of the Northwest Indiana Patient Safety Coalition and manager of safety and security at St. Margaret Mercy Healthcare Centers. For more information on Milen or the NWIPSC, visit

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