A new unit designed for very special and tiny babies has opened at Northside Hospital Atlanta.
The Tiny Baby Unit in Northside Atlanta’s Special Care Nursery, also known as the neonatal intensive care unit or NICU, was unveiled on Feb. 15. It is designed to provide extra care to some of the nursery’s youngest babies, who are sometimes born as early as 22 weeks gestation.
"These preemies require a certain environment and high level of care," said Amanda Veillon, clinical development specialist in the Special Care Nursery. "Our dedicated NICU team has gone through intense training to provide the highest quality care for the babies and families they love so much."
Clinical Manager Lauren Forkel said a decision was made three years ago to focus care on the "tiniest, most critical, most fragile patients" born at 22-23 weeks.
“We have worked tirelessly to examine all of the components of our tiny baby care and timeline, from the delivery room to admissions to the critical first 72 hours and on. We've instituted a variety of process changes and delved hard into the most current evidence-based practice to make our changes.”
“This Tiny Baby Unit truly is the heart of what we do and we are so proud to see it come together while we continue to innovate and provide the best outcomes later in life for our most fragile babies," Forkel added.
At the Feb. 15 opening, a very special guest was on hand to help Northside celebrate.
Grace Young, four years old, is a graduate of Northside's Special Care Nursery and was there with her parents, Quincy and Keya Young of Norcross.
“One of the most special and rewarding aspects of being a NICU nurse is the ability to make a direct impact on the life and future of our patients from the moment they are born,” said Hannah Kennedy, operations manager of the Special Care Nursery. “We see miracles in our NICU every single day, and Gracie is proof of that."
"It has been a dream of the Special Care Nursery staff to start our own Tiny Baby Unit for many years,” Kennedy added. “I am so proud of the tireless efforts made by so many nursing leaders, physicians and staff to turn this dream into reality.”