Congo needed something most hospitals don't offer for newborns.

 

Congo was born with a severe birth defect called a diaphragmatic hernia. He barely had enough lung capacity to survive a transport to CHOC, where he had life-saving surgery. As Congo recovered in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) among many other sick babies, his condition declined. It wasn’t until he was moved to a private space that he began to improve. The key to Congo’s recovery was privacy.

While CHOC’s current NICU services are among the best in the country, we can do more.

More than 200,000 babies are born in Orange County and surrounding counties every year. About 10 percent of those newborns will need critical care in their first moments of life, just like Congo. That enormous responsibility—to give thousands of babies a chance at a healthy life—rests largely on CHOC, Orange County’s children’s hospital. The expansion of our NICU to include private rooms is one of our highest priorities, and we need your help.

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Read on to learn more about our NICU initiative.

Better Healing in Private Rooms

private NICU room with mom, baby and nurseLike most hospitals, our current NICU was originally constructed with open bays—where eight to 10 bassinets are situated close together in one large room, surrounded by high-tech devices. While the unit provides the highest-quality neonatal and mother-baby services, this care is delivered in a bright, noisy and busy environment.

To enhance the NICU experience:

  • CHOC will build 36 private NICU rooms in the Bill Holmes Tower.
  • There is potential for more beds in a second construction phase that could include an expansion of our highly utilized Small Baby Unit.
  • Construction of the NICU expansion is slated to be complete in summer 2017.

Why does privacy matter?

Private NICU rooms, which will have enough space for a bassinet, family members and the complete medical team, are setting a new standard for improved patient outcomes. Research has shown that infants in a private-room setting have a higher average weight gain per day, fewer days requiring intravenous nutrition and a reduced rate of hospital-acquired infections. A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found that infants cared for in single-family rooms weighed more at discharge and gained weight more rapidly than those cared for in an open design. Also, they required fewer medical procedures, had increased attention, and experienced less stress, lethargy and pain. The researchers attributed these findings to increased maternal involvement.

Even more, the private-room setting provides the space and privacy that parents need in order to be more intimately involved in the care of their baby, including breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact, and parents can actually spend the night with their child. In addition, the private room gives staff more access to and interaction with the family and patient.

Renderings

Private Room
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Team Station
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Nursing Station
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NICU Groundbreaking – Jan. 27, 2016

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UC Irvine

CHOC Children's is affiliated with the UC Irvine School of Medicine