After her daughter, Mia, was born one month prematurely this past December, Amanda Meads found herself spending a lot of time—up to eight hours a day over a three-week period—in North Shore Medical Center’s Special Care Nursery. She was among the first to experience the unit after the completion of a $2 million expansion and renovation project.
“Mia was fully developed and healthy, but she needed to be on a feeding tube until she gained some weight and learned to eat on her own,” says the 26-year-old first-time mother from Tewksbury. “I spent as much time in the nursery as I could. At the end of the day it was emotionally difficult to leave her at the hospital, but I knew she was in good hands.” Meads describes the renovated Special Care Nursery as warm, welcoming and comfortable. Even more important than the physical space, she says, are the physicians and nurses who cared for Mia during her stay. “Everyone was very knowledgeable and attentive,” she says. “The nurses provided a great deal of training on how to feed Mia and take care of a premature baby. I was grateful for so much personal attention.”
Located at NSMC Salem Hospital, the 12-bed Level IIB Special Care Nursery is designed to care for babies who need medical monitoring and specialized services not routinely available in standard maternity rooming-in environments or community hospital nurseries. NSMC’s close medical and nursing collaboration with the neonatal intensive care units at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital ensures the most advanced approach to infant care.
“Our renovated Special Care Nursery is more than quadruple the physical size of our old unit, creating a more spacious, private and peaceful environment for children and their families,” says Sanjay Aurora, M.D., M.P.H., Chief of Newborn Medicine. “The response to the new space has been overwhelmingly positive.
In addition to being larger and more private, the renovated nursery also includes a waiting room for families and additional space that can be used for physician-family consultation and patient education. Enhanced lighting and sound calm the environment. A centralized bedside monitoring system facilitates faster and more accurate delivery of care.
“The renovated unit enhances our ability to care for highrisk babies born as early as 32 weeks and ease their transition to home,” continues Dr. Aurora. “It’s great to have a physical space that now matches the skill of our staff.”
For Meads, the combination of comfort, compassion and clinical expertise made a stressful experience a lot more pleasant. “Mia came early, so we were taken a bit off guard,” she says. “By the time I left the Special Care Nursery, however, I felt fully prepared to bring her home and start our life together. Those three weeks made a huge difference.”