Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital opens one of the most advanced neonatal intensive care units in the United States

Wednesday, January 24, 2018
YNHCH first academic medical center in the U.S. to offer unique range of specialized care

New Haven, CT (Jan. 24, 2018)
– Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital (YNHCH) has opened one of the most advanced neonatal intensive care units (NNICU) in the United States, a specially-designed two floor NICU that will enhance family-centered care, provide support and improved outcomes and advance clinical research. In addition, YNHCH is now one of only two hospitals in the U.S. and the first academic center to offer couplet rooms in the neonatal intensive care unit, where mothers and their babies admitted to the NNICU remain together while receiving care. This unique model of care strengthens the maternal-infant bond by fostering skin-to-skin contact, supporting breastfeeding and further inducing healing.

From concept to planning and throughout construction, families have been a cornerstone of this project. By keeping their needs and wishes at the forefront, YNHCH has designed a unit and model of care that is truly family-centered. The single patient rooms offer a therapeutic environment conducive to healing, privacy and developmental growth – no longer will dozens of infants reside in the same room. The unit’s respite rooms, laundry facility and milk room provide further support to parents and families.

“Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital is proud to open the most advanced NNICU is the United States, bringing all of the essential family and patient-centered resources, services and technology into a vibrant center, that supports the efforts of our outstanding physicians, nurses and hospital staff,” said Cynthia Sparer, senior vice president, Operations at Yale New Haven Hospital and executive director, Children’s Hospital and Women’s Services at YNHCH. “Our vision to create a bright, spacious, unprecedented intensive care unit across two floors is now a reality and serves as a national model for others.”

Another first for the innovative YNHCH NNICU includes a sophisticated procedure room that has the versatility to perform everything from complex procedures to inserting a central line to initiating ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) which provides prolonged cardiac and respiratory support to patients whose heart and lungs are unable to provide an adequate amount of gas exchange. One of the greatest benefits of having this state-of-the-art room located within the NNICU is that infants will no longer need to be transported around the hospital – they will simply be moved down the corridor and returned directly to their rooms, only seconds away.

“In 1960, then-named New Haven Hospital opened the first neonatal intensive care unit in the United States. Today, Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital once again shows why it is at the forefront of neonatal care with the opening of our new, highly advanced NNICU,” said Clifford Bogue, MD, chief medical officer, YNHCH. “Hearing first hand from experts in the field of neonatology and visiting world-class NNICUs across the country, we gathered extensive data on various models of care, best practices and NNICU designs and applied this knowledge in designing our own NNICU. The result you see here today will provide families from across the United States with the finest in care for their children.”

A neonatal brain MRI and new technology will be introduced next year and will be one of the first in the United States. The MRI unit is specifically designed to serve the clinical needs of this unique patient population. Its groundbreaking technology specifically designed for this tiny population will allow for the routine MRI scanning of premature newborn brains as well as for other potential concerns. Neonatologists and pediatric neurologists will be better equipped to study neurological development in newborns and apply these learnings to provide better care for these high-risk patients.

Newly developed technology has been integrated into the NNICU design. The sophisticated information technology systems enable data and alarms captured from isolette monitors and bedside equipment to transmit instantaneously to staff smartphones. The innovative integration of physiologic monitoring, computerized decision support, alarm management, mobile communications, and the electronic medical record will provide the clinical team with immediate access to critical information.

Other on-site features that set the new NNICU apart include an onsite 24/7 pharmacy to address critical situations and prepare medications rapidly. They will also round with the medical team as active collaborators in patient care.

To support ongoing training, the unit includes a simulation lab and education center to provide a hands-on learning experience for staff. A conference room is attached to the simulation lab for additional learning opportunities and debriefing.

Yale New Haven Children's Hospital (YNHCH) offers Connecticut's largest and most comprehensive array of maternity and pediatric services. With 213 beds, YNHCH includes neonatal intensive care units, a pediatric intensive care unit, a 24-hour pediatric emergency room and a pediatric surgery center. YNHCH, with campuses in New Haven and Bridgeport, is part of the nationally recognized Yale New Haven Hospital, a 1,541-bed not-for-profit teaching hospital affiliated with Yale School of Medicine. YNHH's York Street campus and associated ambulatory sites are Magnet-designated by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. In addition to its inpatient units, YNHCH has two Pediatric Specialty Centers in New Haven and others in Norwalk, Greenwich and Trumbull to provide specialty care to children closer to their communities.

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