Forty weeks is a long time to look forward to any event. If that event is the birth of a child, you will probably experience a full range of emotions while you wait — everything from joy to anxiousness. When the baby is born, you will be flooded with a sense of relief that everything has gone well.
But what if everything has not gone well? What if the baby is born too early or has a serious medical issue? The all-consuming emotion then is likely fear.
Palms West Hospital can now put those fears to rest. Long regarded for its focus on family-centered care, the hospital recently opened its new Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and renovated 10 maternity suites located in the adjacent birthing center.
Originally opening in 1986, the New Life Center at Palms West Hospital has spent 30 years listening to what parents want and what doctors need. The new state-of-art Level II NICU is the result.
Because not every baby born is a “well baby,” nor even a Level I baby, parents of infants with complex medical conditions can now stay together and focus on providing the needed support to their newest family member in comfortable, secure and private NICU suites while highly trained specialists do their jobs using the latest state-of-the-art technology.
“Our private rooms allow for intimate bonding time, which is ultimately difficult to achieve in a semi-private setting,” said Eric Goldman, CEO of Palms West Hospital. “Our NICU’s family-centered care environment provides these newborns and their parents with all the loving support they need and deserve.”
Each room is equipped with incubators, ventilators and other specialized equipment for premature newborns. Because family-centered care is such a priority at Palms West Hospital, the upgrades incorporate NicView Streaming technology, which allows families to view their newborn from a secure camera portal anytime, anywhere, on any device with internet access.
“NicView Streaming was a priority for us. Families should not miss a second of their baby’s early moments,” New Life Center Clinical Director Toni Ahern said.
Palms West Hospital is one of only five hospitals in Florida with this unique technology. “We are thrilled to unveil the upgrades to our New Life Center,” Ahern added. “The expansion is much more than decorative — we have expanded our staff and services to ensure that it is the safest place to welcome your baby.”
The new Level II NICU is staffed around-the-clock by board-certified neonatologists, experienced nurses, respiratory therapists, anesthesiologists and social workers in a unit that is equipped with the technology and equipment required to provide the most advanced and specialized care.
Dr. Bernardo Pimentel of South Dade Neonatologists specializes in the treatment of premature babies. He is very excited that the new Level II NICU is open at Palms West Hospital. “Level II is level of care provided to newborns who weigh one kilo or more,” Pimentel explained. “Typically, five to seven percent of all pregnancies result in premature births, often to younger mothers, diabetics, those with hypertension or drug addicts.”
Construction began on the new Level II NICU in January and was completed in mid-April at a cost of $4.9 million. “This unit is brand new,” Pimentel said. “There are big rooms. We can keep the mother there and they can see what we are doing with the capability of a camera. After she is released, the mother can see the baby from home. If the father is a soldier or out of state, he can see the baby through the internet.”
The fact that a neonatologist is on site 24 hours a day is also a real advantage, Pimentel stressed. No longer does the onsite doctor have to call for a specialist, then wait for the specialist to arrive.
Pimentel is also pleased with the highly trained neonatal nursing staff. “They are very capable nurses there,” Pimentel said. “They are well-prepared, and now they will get even more experience because they have the opportunity to deal with sicker babies. The babies will get the best care. We have always encouraged the participation of the parents in the baby’s care. Yet, in the past, a baby with issues had to be transferred somewhere else because we didn’t have the space, and it was only a Level I NICU. The expanded New Life Center is a good thing for the community and the entire area.”
Goldman said that new Level II NICU is an important upgrade for the hospital. “The addition of the neonatal intensive care unit was the missing piece of the Palms West Hospital puzzle,” he said. “For 31 years, we’ve been providing outstanding care in our children’s hospital, utilizing the most comprehensive group of physician specialists in more than 25 different pediatric specialties. Now we are able to extend that care, which is typically only found in university settings, to our newest and most fragile patients.
This serves as an example of our commitment to the western communities to be the leader in providing quality care with the most advanced technology to the patients we serve.”
Palms West Hospital is located at 13001 Southern Blvd. For more info., call (561) 798-3300 or visit www.palmswesthospital.com.