LOUISVILLE , KY. (Aug. 2, 2007): The first phase of a renovation and expansion of the Kosair Children's Hospital neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) will be unveiled Friday, Aug. 3. A dedication ceremony for the new unit, to be called the Kosair Children's Hospital NICU at Norton Hospital, is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Friday.
The new NICU unit is part of a five-phase, $18.4 million renovation project to increase the capacity of the NICU to 97 beds and update existing space. Completion of all five phases is expected by 2011.
Phase I of the renovation is a new unit with 10 NICU beds on the third floor of Norton Hospital, 200 E. Chestnut St., which is just across Chestnut Street from Kosair Children's Hospital. The two facilities are connected by an elevated walkway called a "pedway," and the entrances to the pedway in each hospital are near the NICU units.
"With its current 87 beds, our NICU is one of the largest in the country, but the need for this type of specialty care in Kentucky continues to grow," said Douglas J. Eighmey, president, Kosair Children's Hospital. "That increase is partly due to advances made in medical technology, which allows more premature infants to survive at lower birth weights. Unfortunately it also reflects the rise in low birth weight babies born in this state."
According to statistics recently released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the number of low birth weight babies born in Kentucky increased by 7 percent from 2000 to 2004. Smoking during pregnancy is considered a risk factor for low birth weight, and Kentucky has a high rate of smoking by pregnant women.
The new NICU unit features state-of-the-art equipment and the best thinking in design and construction. It is designed to provide a more family-centered care environment, which is developmentally appropriate for neonates. A family-centered environment has been shown to improve the short-term and long-term outcomes for premature and medically fragile infants, in addition to providing a more comfortable setting for parents.
The patient areas in the new unit are each 150 square feet and include advanced equipment such as a GE Giraffe Omni incubator and a Philips MP 70 physiological monitor linked to a central monitor at the nurses' station.
Each patient area is enclosed by three walls, which provides a degree of privacy for parents while they spend time with their infant. Each area features a flat-screen television with DVD player and headphones, a rocking chair/recliner, a taller chair that swivels and is the right height for the incubator, a bench, a safe in which the family can store valuables, and additional storage areas. Direct/indirect lighting provides the correct level of light exposure, and rubber flooring absorbs noise and is gentle on the feet. Colorful paint and countertops complement the firefly-themed designs on the floors and windows.
In phase II of the renovation project, 26 beds will be added to the Kosair Children's Hospital NICU at Norton Hospital. Phases III, IV and V will focus on renovations at the NICU located in Kosair Children's Hospital. Individual patient areas will be enlarged and updated to better incorporate family-centered care and the family's involvement in decision making from the beginning of the child's life. The NICU will have 97 beds when all five phases of construction are completed.
The architect for the renovation project is Karlsberger Companies Inc., Columbus, Ohio. Contractor is Abel Construction of Louisville.
The Children's Hospital Foundation is leading the fundraising effort to complete the next four phases of the renovation. For more information, visit HelpKosairChildrensHospital.com or call 629-KIDS (5437).
About Kosair Children's Hospital
Licensed for 263 beds and recognized as one of the top children's hospitals in America , Kosair Children's Hospital, a part of Norton Healthcare, is located in the Louisville Medical Center and is connected by pedway to Norton Hospital. It is the region's only comprehensive, freestanding pediatric hospital, and the only hospital in Kentucky offering a pediatric trauma center. A complete range of services is provided for children, including pediatric intensive care and one of the nation's largest intensive care nurseries for newborns. Kosair Children's Hospital serves as the pediatric teaching facility for the University of Louisville School of Medicine and is supported by the Children's Hospital Foundation. As part of its commitment to teaching and research, the hospital offers special programs for cancer; heart, lung, kidney and infectious diseases; respiratory ailments; neurology and neurosurgery; general pediatric surgery; orthopaedics; diabetes; psychiatry and plastic surgery; and infant/pediatric heart, kidney and bone marrow transplants. Because of the hospital's special mission, all care is provided by professionals specially skilled in the care of children. The hospital operates the area's only self-contained pediatric burn unit.