All hands will be on deck at UPMC Pinnacle Harrisburg this week, as staff will transition babies into a new NICU.
Parents of babies in the NICU may be visiting the hospital for anywhere from days to months, so the hospital created private rooms for all of the babies’ families to stay.
“He was 28 weeks and three days,” said Dallas Stephen, a dad from Harrisburg.
Samuel Stephen surprised Dallas and Leslie Stephen early this March.
So they’ve been at the NICU every day since.
“Twice a day for about an hour to an hour and a half, each visit,” said Dallas Stephen.
They’re one of the families that will be transitioning to the new NICU next week.
Instead of a room full of pods, the new unit has private rooms.
“The latest evidence supports that when moms can stay with their babies, it reduces stress and it also builds their confidence in caring for their babies,” said Stephanie Martin, the nurse manager at the NICU.
The private rooms are a system a number of hospitals across the country are moving toward.
“We are the only NICU in the region that has private rooms for our families,” said Martin.
The new space also includes lounges for families to relax, a kitchen for meal prep and a room for siblings to play.
“This transition is going to be allowing them to have more privacy for care, for breastfeeding, but also private conversations and some of those hard conversations,” said Martin.
The unit will be able to treat 42 babies, which is ten more than before.
It features additional state-of-the-art technology, like lights that train the human eye.
“The natural intensity of light…they do change and they affect our growing babies,” said Martin.
The tools all aim to make the journey to outside the hospital even smoother.
“You’re not having to worry about the screens up and fitting into a little pod area,” said Dallas Stephen. “It’ll be nicer having the private room.”
UPMC Pinnacle Harrisburg recently opened a new maternity ward too.