As one of several initiatives at Day Kimball Healthcare to celebrate American Heart Month during February, the Hospital participated in the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Little Hats, Big Hearts program. The program specifically helps raise awareness for congenital heart defects (CHD), the most common type of birth defect in the country. Every baby born at Day Kimball Hospital in February received a little red hat made by volunteers.
Linda Violette Buisson, DKH Facilities Department Administrative Assistant, joined hundreds of people around the state knitting and crocheting red hats for Connecticut babies. Linda, who began knitting when she was eight-years old, has knitted more than 75 hats for AHA’s Little Hats, Big Hearts program over the past three years. “If I can help someone by simply doing something that I enjoy, I am more than happy to do so.” Linda said.
Congenital heart defects are structural problems with the heart present at birth. They result when a mishap occurs during heart development soon after conception and often before the mother is aware that she is pregnant. Defects range in severity from simple problems, such as "holes" between chambers of the heart, to very severe malformations, such as complete absence of one or more chambers or valves.
“At Day Kimball Healthcare, we are committed to ensuring women have access to care and education to maintain heart health. We care for women across their lifespan and empower our patients to better care for themselves through education about women’s cardiovascular disease,” said Anne Diamond, Day Kimball Healthcare President and CEO. “We are appreciative of the volunteers who knitted hundreds of hats for the Little Hats, Big Hearts program to honor mothers, babies, and raise awareness of heart health in this distinctive way.”
Day Kimball Hospital is recognized by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield as a Blue Distinction® Center+ for Maternity Care which distinguishes the hospital for delivering high quality, affordable maternity care safely and effectively while also achieving high marks for patient satisfaction and efficiency. And, Day Kimball Hospital is one of only 10 hospitals in Connecticut to be recognized as a Baby Friendly® birth facility.
“At our Burdick Family Birthing Center, it is our goal to ensure that each family has an exceptional, personalized birthing experience,” said Rachel Katsoulis, Nurse Manager in the Maternal Child Health Department. “Our exceptional Neonatal Nurse Practitioners work closely with local Neonatologists partners, ensuring every baby receives the best and most current treatments. We also have a full-time Maternal-Fetal Medicine physician on staff to provide care to high-risk pregnancy women.”
The American Heart Association is committed to raising awareness for CHD, and helping children live stronger lives through education, research and public policies. In fact, the organization’s funding for pediatric cardiac research is second only to the federal government. Thanks to AHA advocacy, laws were passed in Connecticut to ensure that every baby born receives pulse-oximetry testing, which can help identify heart defects immediately after birth. The AHA also creates guidelines for, and trains parents, caregivers and medical professionals in infant and child CPR.
More information about the Little Hats, Big Heart program is online at www.heart.org/littlehatsbighearts. Learn more about congenital heart defects at www.heart.org/CHD. Parents of children with CHD may find support through the AHA’s online Support Network at www.heart.org/supportnetwork.
To learn more about all of Day Kimball Healthcare’s women’s health services and convenient locations visit daykimball.org/women.
DKH staff reflect on the close of this year’s American Heart Month and the American Heart Association’s Little Hats, Big Hearts program. Pictured with the red hats from back left to right are Dr. Andrew Mackenzie, OBGYN, FACOG, DKH Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist; and Rachel Katsoulis, Nurse Manager, DKH Maternal Child Health Dept. Pictured front left to right are Linda Violette Buisson, volunteer red hat knitter, DKH Facilities Dept.; Danielle Mills, RN, DKH Maternal Child Health Dept.; and Cheryl Livernoche, RN, DKH Maternal Child Health Dept.