Date: 7/7/2014

Family Birthing Center revolves around Moms, Babies and Best Care

Community Hospital’s expanded Family Birthing Center will be ready Tuesday, July 8 to deliver a unique kind of labor and delivery experience. The hospital’s $34 million expansion project called Parkview Tower includes three floors dedicated to moms, babies and outstanding care.

“Community Hospital’s first obstetrics unit opened in 1979, with its neonatal intensive care unit opening three years later,” said Donald P. Fesko, CEO. “Our hospital quickly became — and still remains — the busiest facility in Lake County for delivering babies and taking care of premature infants,” he said.

On the fourth floor is the mother/baby unit which features 25 private rooms along with a nursery and baby spa. The spa has ample room for mom and other family members to attend baby’s first bath and make one of the family’s “first” special moments more inclusive and educational than before. In addition, lactation consultants are available seven days per week to provide support to breastfeeding moms.

“We wanted to keep mother and baby together as much as possible, and this expansion and redesign allow us to do just that,” said mother/baby Nurse Manager Patty Hoffman, RN.

The fifth floor houses Level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), staffed by University of Chicago neonatologists 24 hours, seven days a week. Together with Community Hospital healthcare professionals, they can provide specialty care for up to 32 premature and critically ill babies in the new space. When ready to transition home, infants with more complex conditions and their parents will have accommodations in a hotel-style room. This enables baby to stay with mom and dad overnight while being continually monitored by nursing staff. The specially-equipped room accommodations give everyone a practice run before the family returns home. Multiple other services are available for neonatal infants from lactation support to developmental therapies.

“We’re also continually finding less invasive ways to provide medical intervention for premature babies who have respiratory conditions and need help breathing,” said Michelle Cherry, BSN, RN, neonatal nurse manager. “We use CPAP or high-flow nasal cannulas so little ones receive positive pressure to help them breathe without having to keep them intubated as long. Our beds are better for these tiny babies, too,” she said. “We use ‘Giraffe’ beds that have double walls to maintain humidity. With a flip of a switch the bed converts from a radiant warmer to an isolette which is better for babies’ skin and decreases their chance for infection.”

The hospital also has a neonatal transport system to accept critically-ill or premature newborns needing advanced care from other area hospitals. The Critical Care Transport team is specially trained to monitor infant patients with intensive care needs. These newborns can be transported to Community Hospital for specialty care in the Level III neonatal intensive care unit or to a children’s hospital for subspecialty care or surgery if needed.

The sixth floor offers accommodations for labor and delivery with 12 private suites, two surgical suites for C-section procedures and two post-surgical recovery areas. Here, some of the most progressive amenities available for women giving birth are available including a warm water birthing tub for hydrotherapy during labor, or a water birth.

“We offer custom designed walk-in shower with bench seating, positional lumbar water jets and hand held wand for abdominal effleurage, to help provide comfort to patients during the labor process,” says Teresa Meece, BS, RNC, labor and delivery nurse manager. Wireless fetal telemetry (monitoring) will allow our trained staff to keep a close watch on baby at all times, even when mom-to-be is walking in the unit or enjoying hydrotherapy options.”

Labor and Delivery’s Patrice O’Neill, RN said that the new expanded Family Birthing Center is designed with comfort and safety in mind and with input from the healthcare staff.

“The surgical suites are spacious enough to allow the nurses to stand next to mom’s head instead of at the foot of the bed,” O’Neill said. “This way mom will be able to see baby continuously after being born.”

“All of the necessary birthing equipment is on hand in each labor, delivery and recovery room, but tucked out of sight until ready to use,” she said.

Framed artwork over the bed moves to the side to reveal medical gases for use if necessary. A mirror can be remotely angled down from the ceiling to provide a full view of the baby’s birth, if desired. Panel pocket doors slide away and a radiant warmer with emergency equipment swings into a convenient position ready for baby. A convertible sofa functions as a cozy conversation booth or a twin-size bed for a family member’s overnight stay.

To add to the beautifully appointed theme of a celebration of life, a variety of bigger than life-sized framed baby photos and colorful floral landscapes dot the walls on all the floors, thanks to a generous $100,000 donation from the Community Hospital Auxiliary.

Throughout their stay, patients will have the opportunity to purchase spa services such as a manicure or pedicure. These services will be offered by Community Hospital’s SpaPointe and Hair Studio and can be performed in the comfort and privacy of the mom’s room. Spa services may also be purchased as a gift for the new mom during her stay.

All floors have advanced infant security systems for safety and peace of mind.

Learn about the services and classes offered to support the family during the birthing experience by taking a tour of the Family Birthing Center at Community Hospital. Call 219-836-3477 or toll-free 866-836-3477 to arrange a tour.