The new neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) opened last week at HSHS St. John’s Children’s Hospital. It was an exciting day for families, colleagues and physicians as the babies were moved from the existing space into the newly expanded NICU. The new unit is more than double the original size at 28,000-sq.ft. Innovative features of the new family-centered unit include:
Single family rooms where parents can stay overnight.
Expanded rooms that allow NICU twins and their families to stay together.
Dedicated rooms to meet the highly specialized needs of the smallest patients.
A milk lab where infant feeding technicians will prepare individualized human milk and formula feedings that promote optimal nutrition and growth.
Phase II of the renovation project, which will include a family respite lounge and overnight sleep suites, is scheduled to open later this year.
This new NICU will also offer couplet care which enables moms and their NICU babies to heal together in the same space while the mother is still a patient in the hospital. St. John’s is one of only a few hospitals and medical centers in the United States to offer this innovative concept.
The physical environment was built with not only the babies’ needs in mind, but also the parents’ needs. The bright interior of the new NICU is accented with simple shapes, pops of bold color and botanical graphics. These elements support a serene, inviting ambiance, serve as a means of wayfinding through the unit and help create smaller “neighborhoods” on the floor.
“These rooms really are state of the art and allow families to journey through the NICU in their own way, at their own pace and in their own personal space,” said Dr. Beau Batton, director of newborn services, St. John’s Children’s Hospital NICU. “Some of our patients and their families are with us for months. This new space will allow them to have quiet time with their baby in a way we couldn’t provide before.”
As the only level III NICU in the region, the hospital cares for about 700 babies annually from 39 counties across an approximate 80-mile radius.
The NICU project was the centerpiece of hospital-wide fundraising campaign, Imagine Tomorrow, which raised money in support of patient care, education and research.
“We are extremely grateful to the more than 600 individuals, families, businesses and organizations who supported this very special project for our community,” said Bev Neisler, chief development officer for HSHS St. John’s Foundation. “Thanks to their generosity, St. John’s Foundation was able to raise more than $5.6 million to help fund this project.”
St. John’s NICU is a vital part of the hospital and the communities it serves. St. John’s has a 78-year history of caring for premature and critically ill infants. This critical medical resource protects the healthy recovery and development of babies throughout south-central Illinois.
Kahler Slater served as the architect on the project and O’Shea Builders served as construction manager.
To learn more about the new NICU space, click here.