WellSpan York Hospital opened a $1.6 million expansion to its neonatal intensive care unit on Wednesday.
With increasingly tighter quarters on the hospital’s maternity floor to accommodate more and more patients, the expansion offers more space to existing patients as well as future patients entering the NICU.
The newly renovated space includes six new beds and expands the level 3 care unit on the maternity floor to to 44 beds. The unit offers 24-hour care to newborns who are critically ill, require surgery or are born premature.
The hospital now has three specialty areas that make up its NICU – its main NICU, the continuing care nursery and the new tower NICU. Three more nurses will be brought on to help maintain the 24-hour care, bringing the total number of nurses trained in NICU care to 90. Officials report that the expansion makes the hospital’s NICU the largest in southcentral Pennsylvania.
The hospital unit treats 450 children a year, while more than 3,000 babies are delivered at the hospital every year, said John Liss, medical director of newborn medicine.
Because of limited space in the past, WellSpan wasn’t always able to accommodate the patient volume, he said.
“We were in a situation where we had so many patients, we had to turn people away, but [with the new space] that won’t happen anymore,” Liss said.
The expansion also offers a more private, comfortable setting, which includes noise-reducing floors and sound-proofing in the walls to create a more intimate and private atmosphere for patients and their families, said nurse manager Debi McNamara.