SALEM – Technology is helping mothers bring their babies in at LewisGale Medical Center’s new Maternity Care Center.
On Dec. 13, staff showed off the center at the Salem hospital that recently completed a $2.5-million renovation project. The Maternity Care Center was designed to offer patients a family oriented birthing experienced that focuses on comfort as well as safety.
The center now offers nine private suites for labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum that can be transformed for immediate delivery. There is also a labor tub to help birthing mothers manage pain and a new high-tech fetal monitoring system to keep babies safe.
The Maternity Care Center contains its own operating room for Cesarean sections which means less travel time and quicker reunion of mother with baby.
Mothers such like the changes.
“The bigger rooms are great,” said Corie Franklin, who delivered her twins in the renovated unit. “The biggest difference was in the time it took to bring in the babies.
Delivery and recovery are all on the same floor. It took six hours to bring in my 4-year-old last time, but this time the twins were brought in almost 30 minutes after!”
Over the last two years, the number of deliveries has nearly doubled at LewisGale, according to Karen Henson, RN, director of the Maternity Care Center.
The center’s LDRP (Labor-Delivery-Recovery-Postpartum) rooms offer amenities such as flat screen televisions, walk-in showers, refrigerators, pull-out sofas and a central monitoring system.
The center also has eight new postpartum suites and two recovery suites where mothers receive one-on-one care, and lactation services offered by board-certified nurses who advise them how to breast-feed their babies.
“The transformation is amazing,” said Henson. “Whether before or after the new advances, our focus has been patient-centered high quality care. These renovations just give us extra help in providing that.”
State-of-the-art technology includes a central monitoring system in each room that transmits to the nurse’s stations real-time and historical views during labor of fetal heart tracings and contraction patterns. The program, OB Airstrip, gives doctors the ability to remotely monitor patients from their smart phones.
“The centralized monitoring is a big step toward the future in natal care,” said obstetrician-gynecologist Christopher Keeley. “The goal was to have one inclusive unit to provide the patients with quality and comfortable care, especially safety.”
There is also an infant electronic security system. Each baby has a tamper-proof tag worn around the baby’s ankle that is monitored continuously and can detect if it has been manipulated in any way. This system includes cameras and a lockdown mechanism to prevent anyone from leaving the unit if an alarm is triggered.
The next phase of construction should include a neonatal intensive care unit if approved by the state and physician recruiting.
Construction of the unit lasted a little under a year while still providing care to patients during that time. The $2.5 million renovation project was designed to offer patients a family-oriented birthing experience focused on quality, safety and comfort.
“We began talk of renovation in 2008 and like to think of it as the first phase in a larger picture for the maternity unit,” said Victor E. Giovanetti, president of LewisGale Regional Health System. “Every detail was designed with baby, mom and family in mind.”
– By Betsy Tate