Local Families Appreciate UVMC Level II Special Nursery
When Shana Allison's son made a surprise arrival six weeks early, she was relieved to learn he could stay at Upper Valley Medical Center instead of being transferred to a hospital outside Miami County. Cameron Allison lived in the Level Two Special Care Nursery for 10 days, including being on a feeding tube for a time, before he joined his family at their Troy home.
"We were happy to know the baby didn't have to go anywhere far from us. It was so nice," Shana Allison said of herself and husband, Dave. They also had an 11-year-old at home. "The convenience of being close to home was essential, especially when you have other children. They did a great job."
Cameron was just one of more than 1,250 special care babies who entered the world through UVMC's Maternity department since the hospital opened in 1998. With a staff of 60, including 45 Registered Nurses and other caregivers, as well as 6 Obstetrician/Gynecologists, UVMC's Maternity department offers family-centered care in a comfortable, secured unit. The department is equipped to care for 19 mothers and 31 babies at any one time, under the management of Julie Bondurant RN, BSN.
UVMC's Level Two Special Care Nursery, is the only one of its kind between Dayton and Lima. It is equipped to care for newborns who may need specialized care immediately following birth. Those may include premature babies as young as 32 weeks, babies from multiple births, those born with a genetic or heart problem, or those born to a mother with diabetes, hypertension or drug addiction. The hospital contracts with neonatologists from Dayton's Children's Medical Center to see Special Care Nursery babies. UVMC Nursery staff members spend a period of time working at Children's as part of their training.
Babies born at less than 32 weeks are stabilized at UVMC before being transferred to Dayton's Children Medical Center, said Teri Gulker RN, BSN, MA, UVMC Director of Nursing. She said the Level Two nursery must follow strict Ohio Department of Health regulations which are very specific, down to the amount of space required between the babies.
She said the obstetrics nurses are highly trained and highly experienced. The average length of employment at UVMC is about 20 years, and there's a waiting list for nurses interested in joining the department. Ongoing staff training is an ongoing priority, from a annual day-long education programs, to monthly education sessions at staff meetings. There's a full-time Perinatal Nurse Educator on staff. Quarterly drills are held on situations ranging from emergency Caesarian Section to potential infant abduction.
The UVMC Maternity department has recorded around 900 births in each of the last two years. A baby can be in the Level Two Nursery for a few hours or months. The longest stay at the nursery has been three months. If the baby needs to remain in the nursery after the mother is released, she can stay overnight in a free guest room. Amy Stahler, a former Troy resident now living near Bellefontaine, came to know that room well after her daughter, Mia Lani, was born just shy of 33 weeks on Christmas Eve 2006.
Stahler's "little peanut" arrived at four pounds, eight ounces and received what she considered "over and beyond" the normal care of a maternity department in the month between birth and her release to go home, she said. Stahler and husband, Chad, had their hands full with the baby, Amy's own health issues and four-year-old, Keaghan, at home. Having the hospital room available for naps was helpful as were the photos taken by a staff member of the baby, growing day by day.
"My experience at UVMC was awesome," said Stahler, who is herself a nurse. "It was just little things. I trusted the staff. Everybody was very caring and loving to me and my daughter."
Gulker said UVMC Maternity services are constantly evaluated and updated to provide the best care for mother and baby. Whereas birthing facilities in the past often kept new mothers in the same room where the baby was delivered, today after a mother delivers and recovers she is moved to a clean room with private bath and a regular bed versus staying in the birthing room and in the birthing bed. "We found that patients seem to like the change of scenery from where they delivered," Gulker said.
UVMC's family-centered care encourages visits by siblings and grandparents with siblings allowed in the Special Care Nursery for those babies with a longer stay to begin bonding. A full-time Lactation Consultant is available for breastfeeding mothers and a pumping lounge allows them to pump and take their milk to the Special Care Nursery.
UVMC also provides other services for women including but not limited to gynecology procedures, such as Novasure or thermal ablation for women having heavy periods that don't require a hysterectomy, and LSH (laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomies) in which the hysterectomy is done through the laparoscope without need for a large incision.
More information on UVMC Maternity and Women's Services is available by calling, (937) 440-4900 .