On Wednesday, Providence Holy Cross Medical Center will open its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the final stage of a $180 million expansion project at one of the busiest hospitals serving the San Fernando Valley and surrounding communities.
The 12-bed, state-of-the-art NICU is the first for high-risk newborns in the northeastern Valley and the Santa Clarita Valley. It is designed to encourage family interaction within a private setting.
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“This is the realization of a long-time vision to provide care for babies born premature or with other serious conditions,” said David Solarte, M.D., neonatologist and medical director of the NICU at Providence Holy Cross and on staff at sister hospital Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank . “There was nothing more heartbreaking than when we had to transfer infants to other hospitals for NICU care while their mothers were recovering from childbirth at Providence Holy Cross. Now the babies and mothers can stay together.”
The medical staff for the new unit includes obstetricians, pediatricians and pediatric sub-specialists in cardiology, neurology and ophthalmology. The program is anchored by the hospital’s nationally accredited Magnet nurse team.
The NICU specializes in treating premature infants and babies with conditions including jaundice, respiratory distress, and neonatal infections. For the past several years, most special needs infants were treated in the hospital’s special care nursery where the NICU nurse team honed its skills. However, the smallest and most seriously ill newborns required transfer to hospitals with NICUs, including those at Providence Tarzana and Providence Saint Joseph Medical centers where the rates of successful outcomes surpass national averages.
The new unit is equipped with the latest incubators, monitoring systems and ventilators. NICU experts helped design the unit, which offers individual patient bays, privacy for families, and better control of lighting and sound for the tiny patients.
Providence Holy Cross, a designated Baby Friendly hospital, is committed to ensuring mothers are supported in breast feeding their infants, including those in the NICU. Spiritual care also is offered and the hospital’s new chapel is near the new unit. The new South Tower Women’s Pavilion also offers perinatal care for high-risk mothers who require extended hospitalization.