Check it Out: health briefs

Published: 12/26/2017 2:33:20 PM

Compiled by Debra Scherban. Please send items to

CDH hospice program seeks volunteers

The hospice program at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton is seeking volunteers to assist with end-of-life care.

Training begins Jan. 10 and runs for four consecutive sessions. On Jan. 10, 25 and 31, it runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Jan. 17, from 1 to 5:30 p.m. for a total of 18 hours.

No experience is necessary. Those interested should be good listeners and be able to exhibit flexibility, caring and compassion.

Volunteers must be 18 years old and older, have their own transportation, agree to a CORI check and health screening, and be able to volunteer between one and four hours per week.

Ways to volunteer are providing patient companionship, support to family members and caregivers, complementary therapies such as reiki, massage, music and pet therapy, bereavement support and administrative help.

For more information and to request an application, contact Carol Devine, hospice coordinator, at 413-582-5354 or


Midwifery care associated with fewer medical interventions

Women who gave birth at hospitals with a large percentage of midwife-attended births were less likely to have cesarean deliveries, episiotomies and vaginal incisions, according to a recent study

Laura Attanasio from the University of Massachusetts and Katy Kozhimannnil at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health based their conclusions on one year’s worth of data from hospitals in New York State. Details appear in the current Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health.

The authors say their findings raise the possibility that greater access to midwifery care, which is low in the United States, might enhance perinatal care and lower costs for low-risk women. In 2014, the year of the study, Attanasio and Kozhimannil point out that midwives attended just 9 percent of U.S. births, compared to more than 66 percent in other western countries such as Australia, France and the U.K.

The researchers looked at the association between midwife-attended births and four outcomes among low-risk women: induced labor, cesarean delivery, episiotomy and obstetric morbidity – that is, unintended results of labor or delivery that harm the mother’s health.

Of the 126 hospitals included, the researchers say, about 25 percent had no midwives present. About 50 percent had some midwives present, but they attended less than 15 percent of births, while at 7 percent of the hospitals, midwives attended over 40 percent of births. They controlled for such variables as mother’s age, insurance type and diagnosis of diabetes and hypertension.

Though the researchers found that women who gave birth at hospitals with more midwife-attended births had lower odds of delivering by cesarean and lower odds of episiotomy, midwife-attended births were not associated with changes in labor induction or severe obstetric morbidity.

Kozhimannil says that the findings imply that a greater midwifery presence may have important clinical benefits. “From a policy perspective, this study should encourage legislators and regulators to consider efforts to safely expand access to midwifery care for low-risk pregnancies,” she said.

Several states are considering expanding midwives’ scope of practice as New York State did in 2010 for certified nurse midwives, Attanasio says. “I hope that this work contributes to the evidence related to promoting the quality and value in maternity care that midwives can bring.”

Blood donation opportunities

Thursday, 1 to 6 p.m., Sunderland Fire Department, 105 River Road, Sunderland.

Friday, 12 to 6 p.m., Easthampton Congregational Church, 112 Main St., Easthampton.

Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061


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