Premature babies like Amelia aren’t quite ready for their own nursery.
But the doctors and nurses at Edward Hospital are making sure they have a home away from home until they are strong enough to leave.
“It’s very stressful being in the NICU, and we’re trying to provide a space for the parents to bond with their babies and be together as a family,” said NICU Manager, Carol Peterson.
After more than a year of work, the hospital expanded its NICU to include 13 new private rooms —bringing the total to 35.
Peterson says the expansion couldn’t have come at a better time.
“For the last six months, I think our census has been anywhere from about 28 to 35, so those patients were in a big open area that couldn’t be accommodated in the private rooms,” said Peterson.
Neonatologist Michael Fitzgerald says the previous setup was working, but it wasn’t ideal.
“It was a place that we used for transitioning and to home babies, babies that were much healthier, but still the parents really noticed that the environment was not quite the same as upstairs,” said Fitzgerald. “The care was just as good, but the bells and whistles weren’t quite as nice.”
He says private rooms for the babies don’t just provide a place for parents to bond with their new children; they also shut out unwanted sounds and light.
“All of things which contribute to increased events and other things preemies can do when they are over-stimulated,” said Fitzgerald. “Edward was the first hospital in the region to offer private rooms, and the hospital has the largest NICU in DuPage County.
The whole unit was built with sound absorbing materials on the floors, walls and ceilings, providing a cozy spot for parents and babies to cozy up.
Naperville News 17’s Beth Bria reports.