On Jan. 14, 2020, Northside Hospital Cherokee expanded its Women’s Center facility to include extended services to local families seeking care for premature babies.
The Northside Cherokee Women’s Center has two new floors, inclusive of a 15-room Special Care Nursery for newborns requiring extra-special care with a Level-III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), a new service for the expanded Women’s Center. The new designation allows the hospital to support babies born as early as 28 weeks with a full range of pediatric medical subspecialties, respiratory support and advanced imaging, including digital screening for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a disease of the eye, which is required for certain premature infants.
“New parents can now visit their premature babies immediately after delivery, instead of commuting to and from Atlanta,” said Christina Roberts, manager of the Women’s Center at Northside Hospital Cherokee. “Our hope is to help new Cherokee parents as much as we can by providing these services at home, where it’s more convenient.”
All of the NICU beds are private and offer adjacent room for parents to stay at their baby’s bedside. They also are twin capable, meaning parents of twins can have both babies in the same room. A private family lounge, equipped with lockers, showers and a kitchenette, will allow parents to avoid a commute home and stay with their loved ones in the center.
Clinicians and architects incorporated special design and technology features to enhance both family comfort and clinical function, including observation alcoves created within a decentralized nursing model improve visibility over babies; and a telemedicine partnership with affiliated ophthalmology specialists provide quick turn retinal scanning necessary for premature infants.
More than 2,000 babies were born at Northside Hospital Cherokee in 2019. In response to an annual increase of 20% in labor and delivery volume, the Women’s Center also is adding 15 postpartum delivery rooms, which will open in March.