Carroll Hospital is one step closer to changing the business of being born in the county. The hospital’s newly renovated family birthplace entrance opened to patients Feb. 5 as part of a larger project due to be completed next year.
“We have a new waiting room and a brand-new dedicated entrance,” said Linda Grogan, the hospital’s executive director of women’s and children’s services. “We now have security 24/7 at the family birthplace entrance.”
These changes are in services of a larger goal, Grogan said, making space for further renovations that will allow the family birthplace to fully practice what is called neonatal couplet care.
“The research for this work was done in Sweden a few years ago,” she said. “They have demonstrated that if babies are not separated from their moms they tend to do better: They get healthier quicker, they have a shorter length of stay in the hospital and better outcomes generally.”
When it comes to healthy babies and mothers, Grogan said, Carroll Hospital has kept them together as a practice for 20 years. And in the family birthplace currently, mothers can labor, deliver and recover with baby in a private room, she said.
What the hospital has yet to establish is that same private room experience when a baby is unwell or needs further observation, Grogan said. Currently, a baby is taken to a special nursery away from the mother, she said, but the second phase of renovations on the family birthplace will change that.
“This is just the first phase,” Carroll Hospital President Leslie Simmons was quoted as saying in a news release. “These rooms will provide great comfort for families who have babies born prematurely or require specialized care, so that mom and dad can stay with the baby in a private room rather than a crowded NICU until the baby is ready to go home.”
The overall project should be complete by August 2019, Grogan said, and will add 10,000 square feet to the family birthplace.
The cost for the project is $13.5 million, according to a news release.
In the meantime, Grogan said, the hospital is doing all it can to implement elements of the neonatal couplet care philosophy in the family birthplace as it exists today.
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“We do what’s called skin-to-skin, where immediately after birth if the baby is stable and mom is stable, the baby is placed directly on the mother’s chest,” she said. “It helps the baby adjust to life outside the uterus much better than if the baby was placed in a warmer and whisked away from the mom, even if still in the room.”