Small Conversations for a Better World Podcast

Kangaroo Care w/ Alix Woldring & Sarah Coutts

February 05, 2021 Gillian McCormick, Susannah Steers
Small Conversations for a Better World Podcast
Kangaroo Care w/ Alix Woldring & Sarah Coutts
Show Notes Chapter Markers

A conversation about the readiness of British Columbia NICU's to employ a model of  care imported from Columbia called Kangaroo Care with the project coordinator and an Independent Consultant working for Perinatal Services. 

BIO: Sarah Coutts - Independent Consultant, Kangaroo Care Project

Sarah is a lactation consultant, neonatal nurse and the mother of 4 kids. She has a passion for Kangaroo Care (continuous skin-to-skin contact) with preterm infants and their parents while in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She believes Kangaroo Care can lead to improved outcomes and better experiences for parents of preterm infants. Kangaroo Care helps maintain parents as the primary caregivers and ensures they can be with their baby during their stay in the NICU – promoting zero separation is essential.

Her most recent position at Perinatal Services BC in the Kangaroo Care research and implementation project team has been a highlight for her and hopefully leads to supporting BC NICUs to fully embrace Kangaroo Care as a model of care.

Sarah is hoping to continue to promote and research Kangaroo Care locally and internationally and reduce separation between mothers and their infants after birth and while in the hospital.

Alix Woldring - Project Coordinator, Clinical Systems and Quality Improvement, Perinatal Services BC

I currently coordinate the Kangaroo Care program at Perinatal Services BC. In 2016, I completed my Masters in International Development from the University of Sydney in Australia and found myself working in the agriculture and natural resources sector on projects related to sustainability and climate change adaptation in the Asia Pacific region. My background in sociology meant that while surrounded by environmental scientists, agriculture specialists and engineers, I was always curious about the social, cultural and political conditions that contributed to the disparities that were being addressed by these projects.

Once I started at Perinatal Services BC, the Kangaroo Care program immediately caught my attention.  There was a simple, low cost, low tech intervention, started in Colombia, that was hugely backed by evidence for both mother and infant. More than that, the Kangaroo Care project was about not only about the context of care in the NICU, it’s also about the context of people's lives. Involving families in the care of the infant as part of the care team involves a fundamental shift in the role of families, how they are seen by healthcare providers and how families see their own role. Maximising parental presence and participation in the NICU requires looking at the conditions that shape people's lives and the barriers and challenges they face to being in the NICU.

Discover Alix and Sarah;
Coutts, S., Woldring, A., Pederson, A. et al. What is stopping us? An implementation science study of kangaroo care in British Columbia’s neonatal intensive care units. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 21, 52 (2021).

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Find Susannah Steers at and on social media @themovingspirit.

Find Gillian McCormick at and on social media @physiogillian

What is Kangaroo Care?
Parents and Kangaroo Care
Why are babies in the NICU?
The HOW and WHY of Kangaroo Care
The Implementation Science Project
What is Health?