Before the sun rose this morning, teams of critical care nurses and technicians were preparing for a unique task: moving dozens of Florida Hospital for Children’s tiniest, most vulnerable patients to their new (temporary) homes.
One bed would roll by flanked by nurses and technicians, then another a few minutes later — and so on — as dozens of patients in the new Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit made their way to their new private rooms this morning.
Immense planning and coordination went into moving the hospital’s tiniest and most vulnerable patients — many nurses even came in on their day off to assist with the move.
“It’s amazing to see that they put this all together,” said Candy Sullivan, whose son is being cared for in the NICU. “It’s just nice that the babies get something like this to be in. Not only that, but for the families, too. It makes it easier on the families to have your own private room and not be in the community rooms, like most have been before.”
The new NICU replaces Florida Hospital Orlando’s existing Level III NICU and expands its capacity to 102 beds. The NICU includes 95 private rooms; three Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) rooms to provide critical heart and lung care; and four transitional rooms. These include a set of rooms for twin newborns on both floors.
Nurse Mandie Nicholas echoed the importance of offering families private rooms and the role it plays in the healing process.
“Anytime you have that privacy you can get that bonding between the parents, and a lot of the time in the NICU that’s missing — you have a baby and instantly they’re taken away,” she said. “So this gives parents an opportunity to really be a part of their care and be here present with their baby all the time, which is really great.”
For more than 30 years, Florida Hospital’s Level III NICU program has offered the highest level of care available to neonatal babies, serving 1,400 patients last year alone from across the region. The new NICU brings Florida Hospital’s regional neonatal network bed capacity to more than 150.
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