Lancaster Physician Fall 2020 - 9

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"We can care for the whole range of
patients and scenarios-from a healthy baby
born to a healthy mom to the critically ill
baby born to the sickest mother," said Dr.
Sarah Iriana, interim chair of the Department
of Pediatrics and pediatrician-in-chief at
Penn State Children's Hospital.
The new Women and Babies Center has
36 private rooms for either antepartum-
women with high-risk pregnancies who
need bedrest-or postpartum care. There
are nine labor and delivery rooms and two
rooms reserved for performing C-sections.
Two well-baby nurseries and four triage
rooms round out the center.
"You can get wonderful well-baby and
well-mom care in our beautiful new facility,"
said Iriana. "But while many facilities offer
great amenities, we offer the highest level
of care families could need, convenient to
those in Lancaster County and throughout
all of central Pennsylvania.
"With our Perinatal program, a mom
who is found to have a significant problem
with the pregnancy can get comprehensive
care from that first ultrasound onward,"
Iriana continued. "We have counselors and
specialists who will help mothers and their
families through the pregnancy and plan
for what that delivery may entail-including potential neonatal surgery or neonatal
intensive care."
EXPANDED NICU WITH AN INNOVATIVE
SMALL BABY UNIT
The new, 56-bed Level IV NICU will use
a hybrid room model with a mix of private
rooms for singletons, twins, and triplets
and three open bay units with six beds in
each. One area of the NICU will comprise
a Small Baby Unit.
"Cohorting the smallest babies-those
born at 23-25 weeks' gestation-results
in both better survival rates and better
survival free of major problems," said Dr.
Jeffrey R. Kaiser, chief of the Division of
Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at Penn State
Children's Hospital. The tiniest babies will
start out in single rooms where noise and

light stimulation is kept to a bare minimum
and the continuity of care is critical.
"We have a team that includes neonatologists, neonatology fellows, advanced practice
providers, NICU bedside nurses, NICU
nursing leadership, respiratory therapists,
NICU pharmacists and NICU dieticians that
have developed and follow the same written
guidelines based on the best research available
for the specialized care of small babies," said
Kaiser. "Consistent medical care is essential
for premature infants, and that's what this
Small Baby Unit will allow us to do."

But when work or family circumstances
prevent that scenario, the NICU staff will
move the infants to one of the open bay
rooms once they're off the ventilator and
feeding on their own.
"There's going to be hustle and bustle and
noise that's critical to their development,"
said Kaiser, adding that if a patient's insurance allows, "Penn State Health is happy to
send these babies back to their local hospital
for the last several weeks of inpatient care
closer to home."

THE NEW WOMEN AND
BABIES CENTER HAS 36
PRIVATE ROOMS FOR
EITHER ANTEPARTUM OR
POSTPARTUM CARE
While the first several weeks of a very
premature infant's care is designed to be
as dimly lit and quiet as possible, Kaiser
explains the critical role of stimulation as
the infants become more mature.
"Babies born 16 weeks early will stay in
the hospital for approximately 100 days,"
said Kaiser. "Research shows that if that baby
starts off in a single room and remains in
one, without their parents staying with them
to offer interaction, their neurodevelopment
will be worse by the time they're 2 years old."
Most of the beds in the NICU are in
private rooms where parents can stay with
their babies for as long as their infants need
to be hospitalized. "Their parents can talk
to them, and their babies will have the best
possible neurodevelopment and cognition,"
said Kaiser.

LANCASTER

9

PHYSICIAN

"Early on, we're focused on these infants'
survival," said Kaiser. "But we're also focused
on their long-term outcomes. That's why we
developed the Small Baby Unit. No other
hospital within a 100-mile radius of us can
do what we'll be doing."



Lancaster Physician Fall 2020

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