English poet Jane Taylor’s well-known words of childhood wonder grace the walls of the new waiting room adjacent to the expanded Children’s Hospital Central California community Level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno. The walls also feature pictures and stories of patients who benefited from the high level of care they received from expert neonatologists and other neonatal medical professionals from Children’s.
Children’s Hospital has operated a satellite NICU at Saint Agnes for nearly 30 years. The intermediate Level II NICU has offered six licensed beds, while the new Level III contains eight licensed beds.
“Our Level III beds are all private,” said Stacie Venkatesan, manager, Children’s Hospital NICU at Saint Agnes. “Private rooms are good for bonding, infection control and neurodevelopmental care.”
Recliners in the private rooms allow parents to share skin-on-skin time with their medically fragile babies. The Level III rooms also offer pull-out sofas for rooming in. “Dads can stay with their babies when mom is receiving postpartum care,” said Venkatesan. “And mom can join them as soon as she is discharged.”
The expansion not only increases the number of licensed beds, but also brings state-of-the-art technology to the satellite location.
“As far as technology goes, our systems here are connected to Children’s Hospital’s main campus eight miles away,” said Venkatesan. “The new unit provides seamless access to all services the Hospital and its pediatric specialists provide.”
An inhouse medical provider from Children’s will provide coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the Saint Agnes NICU.
With construction now complete, the stage is set for the grand opening. “We are finalizing processes to ensure a seamless transition from one unit to the other,” said Venkatesan. “The higher level of care ensures that babies will be cared for by the most experienced neonatal team in the region.”
The newly expanded NICU received its first patients on Nov. 21.