NCH Expands NICU Pediatric Services

Always working hard to make patients’ experiences without equal, including the littlest of all—pre-term and newborns—NCH Healthcare System is currently involved in an expansion project of its neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at NCH North Naples Hospital.

Catherine Ravelo and Bernie HintonCatherine Ravelo, MSN, RN, CNML said that when she joined NCH 19 years ago, while the NCH Downtown NICU had four designated special care beds, ill babies still had to be transported to other facilities.

After opening the NCH North NICU in 1996 and one renovation later, the NICU expansion is under way and expected to be completed by August. This is due in its entirety to the generosity of the community in its charitable giving.

Bernadine Hinton, MSN, RN, NCH Director of Women and Children Services cited research that shows that premature babies do better and thrive when families are kept together.

“In response to the community’s wonderful support, we want them to know the babies that are born in Collier County can now be kept here in Collier County,” said Hinton.

To that end, the unit will provide a full range of medical and nursing services for premature or health-challenged babies. It will be developmentally appropriate and designed with a focus on providing care that is patient and family centered.

A separate, multi-purpose waiting room for visitors and families has been constructed, as well as a private lactation room for mothers to provide breast milk for their babies with the assistance of experienced lactation consultants.

The current nine-bed, level-two unit will be expanded to an 18-bed, level-two unit equipped with recliners, low lighting and noise-reducing curtains in a nurturing environment that will better meet the needs of mothers and families undergoing the stressors of newborn challenges.

Some of the issues include delivery complications, pre-term births, abnormalities, the need for physiologic or respiratory support or infections and antibiotic administration.

Highlights of NCH NICU ServicesEach of the 12 Giraffe Omni-Bed isolettes, the Rolls Royce of newborn care, has a double-walled, humidified environment to protect delicate newborn skin. Each is also equipped with a breast milk warmer, scale, photo-therapy lights and procedure lights designed to avoid overstimulation of babies, some of whom would have still been in the womb.

Along with the state-of-the-art equipment, the NICU sta will increase and will continue to provide level-two care including 24-hour, in-house neonatologists, nurse practitioners (ARNPs) and physician assistants.

Today, mothers and babies benefit from access to pediatric subspecialists in the areas of neurology, gastroenterology, cardiology, ophthalmology, pulmonology, and orthopedics.

For more information about NCH NICU services,
call Bernadine Hinton at (239) 552-7571 or Catherine Ravelo at (239) 552-7597


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