Women & Children's Center Upgrades Progressing

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The first phase of a nearly $40 million expansion at Franciscan St. Francis Health-Indianapolis is open. The neonatal intensive care unit is part of a larger initiative at the hospital's Women & Children's Center. The next phase, a pediatrics wing, is set to be unveiled Thursday. December 1, 2014

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - A new and larger neonatal intensive care unit has been reborn at Franciscan St. Francis Health-Indianapolis.

The new unit - the only Level III NICU in south-central Indiana - recently moved to a new location within the hospital, marking the first phase of a $37 million expansion project of the Women & Children's Center.

"Sometimes, unexpected situations and extra care is necessary for newborns even in the healthiest of pregnancies," said Lori Warner, director of Women & Children's Services. "Our NICU is for babies who need special medical attention after they are born, and sometimes, may have to stay a few days longer after their mother is discharged. We provide the latest technology in monitoring with an entire staff specially trained in caring for high-risk infants."

The revamped NICU has 24 private rooms, each having a couch which easily can be converted into a bed. A nearby private lounge offers shower/bath facilities and refreshments for parents.

"We offer a unique service to increase parents' confidence and ease the transition from the hospital to home," said Warner. "Near the end of the infant's stay, parents and their infants may room-in together and can learn confidently how to care for their baby after discharge from our round-the-clock nursing staff."

When parents are away from the hospital, they can use remote monitoring, via their computers and mobile devices, to watch their babies.

The unit is entirely family-focused. "Virtual Visitation" allows siblings, out-of-town relatives and friends the opportunity to be introduced to the baby by parents.

Led by medical director Paul D. Winchester, MD, the NICU team has developed a robust program in caring for the sickest and most high-risk infants at the Franciscan St. Francis' Indianapolis and Mooresville campuses.

Another significant phase of the overall project will be unveiled Dec. 4 with the opening of a new pediatrics wing. The fourth-floor unit includes nine private rooms and a staff of highly experienced, pediatric-certified nurses.

Additionally, the Pediatrics Services program offers outpatient IV and infusion services, a specialty clinic, lab testing, physical, occupational and speech therapy and a range of behavioral health and psychology services.

Other milestones loom on the horizon over the next year, particularly in obstetrical care:

-7 triage rooms and an infusion area for newly admitted patients

-12 expanded labor and delivery rooms

-8 large antepartum suites with in-room refrigerators

-2 operating room suites for caesarean procedures

-34 postpartum suites and a nursery

"Throughout life, women have many questions about how best to manage their health and that of their families, particularly when they are expecting the birth of a child," said Warner. "We offer a full range of women's health care services, from yearly checkups and prenatal care, to specialized gynecologic care."

When the Women & Children's Services project is completed, patients and visitors entering the first-floor lobby will have easy access to Women’s Health Services offices, massage therapy, Maternal/Fetal Medicine, Pelvic Health Services and an Outpatient Lactation Consultation Clinic.

Source: Franciscan St. Francis Health