Improving Health Outcomes for Surgical Patient in Nicaragua: Empowering Nurses Participating in a Multidisciplinary Cleft Lip and Palate Team Implementing Evidence-Based Practice Solutions

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Teresa A. Pfaff, MPH, MSN, RN1
Anina Terry, MSN, RN2
Maria Julia Perez, RN3
Carmen Maria Urruita Gomez, RN3
(1)Department of Community Public Health, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD, MD
(2)Department of Community Public Health, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD
(3)Multidisciplinary Cleft Lip and Palate Team, Aproquen, Managua, Nicaragua

In Nicaragua, the increase in those suffering from the congenital malformation of cleft lip and palate has bee seen across a diverse range of socio- economic levels.  Although the World Health Organization estimates that cleft lip, with or without palate involvement, affects almost 1 in every 600 newborns worldwide, the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health has not updated statistical data of the percentage of children with this congenital malformation.

These children encounter challenges with maternal and familial acceptance, in addition to multiple surgeries and visits to healthcare providers required in the first few years of life to achieve optimal growth and development.

Aproquen, a Nicaraguan foundation, works with these families, employing a multidisciplinary team model to address the complex needs of the families of cleft lip and palate children in this developing country. Aproquen’s team initiates care for these children at birth with a nutritional assessment and continued follow-up. Consultation with the medical doctor introduces the multidisciplinary program and covers the growth and general health of the child. The psychologist addresses parents’ social concerns and questions, in addition to extensive surgical preparation. Later when the child begins to develop language skills, a speech therapist will work the family to improve their oral skills and enhance language ability.  The role of the nurse transcends this entire process; providing specialized medical care through each stage of treatment and addressing families’ psychosocial needs at the intersection of customs, beliefs, values and inherited attitudes.  In this unique role, nurses work to educate families on feeding techniques, personal hygiene, and integration into society; optimizing health outcomes for cleft lip and palate children and their families. This presentation explores current practices used to empower and enable Aproquen nurses to provide evidence-based information and education in this unique, influential role.