A New Vision for Newborn Care

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. The expansion of our NICU to include private rooms is one of our highest priorities, and we need your help.

For several decades, we have risen to that challenge, offering highly specialized care for babies born too soon, who have low birth weight or have a medical condition that requires special care.

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

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.

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 has built 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

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.

Your donation can light the way to help fund CHOC's NICU initiative.

Congo after surgery

Your philanthropic investment will make a significant difference for babies just like Congo. Please, make a donation today. To learn more about how you can support this new model of newborn care, or to schedule a hospital tour, please call the CHOC Foundation at 714-509-8690.

Make a Donation Now



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