Perinatal Testing Unit (PTU) staff

Bayhealth Maternal-Fetal Medicine Adds Perinatal Testing Unit

Monday, April 23, 2018 | Womens and Childrens
To better serve its patients and their babies, a Perinatal Testing Unit (PTU) has been added to the Maternal-Fetal Medicine office located in Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus. Equipped to provide biophysical profiles and non-stress tests—which assess the health of the baby to prevent stillbirth— to women from 28 weeks gestation to delivery, the PTU is staffed by three nurses trained in ultrasound.

Bayhealth Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist Garrett H.C. Colmorgen, MD, says a more organized and predictable perinatal testing schedule, quicker access to specialists, and overall convenience are some of the patient benefits the PTU provides. “They’re getting all necessary tests at the same place, done under the guidance of Maternal Fetal Medicine, and we’re right here for consults if they’re needed.”

Bayhealth Women’s Services Senior Nurse Manager Starr Lynch, BSN, RNC-OBC, says patient education is another one of the primary benefits of the PTU. “We have an educational component put right into the PTU that is designed to help improve patient outcomes,” she said. “In a nutshell, we’re partnering with the patients.”

“The unit is for our higher risk Maternal-Fetal Medicine patients who require more routine follow up,” added PTU nurse Denise Rifenburgh, BSN, RNC-OB. “It’s exciting to be able to watch the babies mature in utero and to be able to bond with the patients.”

“It’s great that we’re able to follow our patients here and the nurses can notify Dr. Colmorgen and Dr. Hatjis right away if there’s a problem,” said Sonographer Shelley White, RDMS, NT/NB, RMA, who helped train the nurses before the unit opened. “This will help patients feel more comfortable because if something is detected, they can have the physician take a look right away. We can do perinatal testing for singletons and multiples.”

“I’ve been a Labor & Delivery nurse for almost 30 years, so for me it was exciting to learn something new,” said PTU nurse Terri Burns, RN. “I also like that the unit allows me to provide more consistent care. Another big plus is we’re able to teach patients how to take care of themselves much earlier. In fact, I keep hearing from patients that they’re glad we’re here to answer their questions and that we’re giving them all the information they need to take care of themselves and their babies.”

PTU nurse Cosby Payne, BSN, RNC-OB, agrees with her colleagues. “We get to help prepare patients and form a relationship since we see them over several weeks,” she said. “It’s also great that we found a brand new way to leverage our skills. We’re all nurses with lots of experience and knowledge. After 20 years of listening to babies’ hearts, viewing them in new ways is fascinating.”

Visit Bayhealth.org/Maternal-Fetal-Medicine-Perinatology to learn more about Bayhealth Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the services it provides.