EORH helps Harmony House

MARTINS FERRY – With funds generously donated by the late Virginia Gasaway of Martins Ferry, East Ohio Regional Hospital has purchased new equipment for the use of maternal and infant care in its obstetric, emergency and anesthesia departments, and has donated to advocacy services that benefit infants and children in Belmont County.

Technology upgrades in the BirthPlace, the hospital’s obstetrics unit, include mobile nursery systems, state-of-the-art birthing beds, and wireless, innovative fetal and maternal monitoring systems designed to promote a more comfortable birthing experience for the mother while she labors, delivers and recovers in one room.

Bernie Albertini, vice president and chief administrative officer of EORH, said the Gasaway donation has allowed the physicians and staff at the BirthPlace, as well as other departments that care for pregnant women, to provide quality care at the laboring mother’s bedside.

“We are fortunate and grateful to advance obstetric and neonatal care to the next level at EORH,” said Albertini. “These advancements allow families to have an even greater birthing experience because of this new technology.”

With the use of wireless fetal monitors, laboring mothers now have the option to move freely during labor before delivering in new birthing beds equipped with numerous comfort features, such as adjustable accessory devices for back support. Once the baby is born, the unique, portable nursery system allows babies to be warmed, weighed and resuscitated at the mother’s bedside, eliminating the need for the infant to be taken to a separate nursery room and keeping the mother and baby together.

“Studies demonstrate that single room, family-centered care has been shown to be safer and to have lower infection rates,” said Lynette DeBertrand, nurse manager of the BirthPlace. “Parents report they are more confident and rested when their baby is safe, comfortable and content at their bedside.”

EORH’s allocation of the Gasaway funds have directly benefited infants at the hospital, yet the hospital saw a need to benefit children in the community as well. In response, EORH’s administration donated $100,000 to Harmony House in St. Clairsville. Harmony House is a children’s advocacy center with a child-focused program allowing prosecutors, law enforcement, child protective service workers, medical and mental health professionals and victim advocates to work together to strengthen the community’s response to child abuse.

As Harmony House operates solely on grants, donations and fund-raising efforts, EORH’s donation comes at a time when the organization is seeing changes in its funding structure, said Leslie Vassilaros, executive director for Harmony House.

“This generous donation will help provide services to families in our Belmont County center,” said Vassilaros. “Harmony House has had a long-standing relationship with Ohio Valley Health Services and Education Corporation since 2003. OVMC has given Harmony House in-kind office space in their hospital to serve families in West Virginia. This monetary donation for our Belmont County location is an extension of our already wonderful relationship with OVHS&E.”

Harmony House coordinates a child-focused, culturally competent, multi-disciplinary team approach for services to ensure that no child is further victimized. This approach reduces trauma and promotes healing for victimized children and their non-offending family members, as well as expediting the investigation for safety concerns and assessment of alleged child victimization. Examples of such abuse are sexual, physical and emotional abuse, as well as Internet and human trafficking crimes.

“We truly care about the communities we serve as demonstrated through our commitment to support Harmony House,” said Albertini. “Harmony House provides a vital service to our community’s children, and we support their work to help improve the health of our community.”

In 2013, Harmony House serviced 417 children and non-offending family members locally. Services that will continue because of EORH’s donation are: case review and tracking; forensic interviews; coordination of medical referrals and evaluations; therapeutic interventions; victim support and advocacy through crisis intervention, supportive counseling and case management; and community education and awareness.

Ohio Valley Medical Center, located in Wheeling, and East Ohio Regional Hospital, located in Martins Ferry, are a 340-bed combined organization with more than 1,600 employees providing the area’s only comprehensive orthopedic centers of excellence, behavioral and mental health services and board certified emergency services on both sides of the Ohio River.