Sentara Norfolk General Hospital opens new NICU that provides private, semi-private rooms

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Posted at 11:36 AM, Feb 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-15 11:36:06-05

NORFOLK, Va. – The new neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital has officially opened.

The unit moved from a crowded ward model facility into larger, brighter, safer quarters. It is located in the hospital’s Kaufman wing on a converted medical/surgical floor.

Sentara Norfolk's NICU now 57 beds, an extra 10. The unit offers private and semi-private rooms, each with an outside window and natural light. Private rooms have sleep sofas for parents who want to stay with their newborns around the clock. The private rooms will give mothers the opportunity to bond with the baby and for NICU staff to partner with parents to console babies recovering from neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS).

The level III NICU has ventilator capacity for every bed and four isolation rooms when needed. Private and semi-private rooms also reduce the potential for hospital-acquired infections.

“The ‘Eat, Sleep, Console’ method can help us reduce the amount of medication required to help addicted newborns recover,” says NICU manager Christina Zimmer, RN. “We think these private spaces and the ability to engage with parents in private will help these babies recover and thrive after a rough start in life.”

There is also now new alerting technology that allows nurses to connect their wireless phones so they can receive and respond to alarms more quickly.

The new NICU features an on-site workspace for four milk techs. They mix and prepare the mother's milk and donated milk for newborns to ensure the best nutrition.

“Our facility is now equal to our level of care,” Zimmer adds. “Our new NICU is a leap forward in clinical excellence and the patient/family experience.”