Fragile Babies & Family Bonding at Children's Hospital

August 13, 2008 7:54:10 PM PDT
Modern patient care often drives continual change in the hospital setting. One such advance will soon mean twenty-three new hospital rooms for the tiniest of patients at Children's Hospital Central California. Nurses and Doctors say there are good reasons as well as priceless benefits to this new NICU wing. And construction on twenty-three individual rooms at Children's Hospital in Madera County is in full tilt. And by the end of October ... when they're ready ... a new phase in 'neo-natal care' will begin there. The sound of construction leads a concert of workers creating a new extension of the NICU ore neo-natal intensive care unit. Outside the construction area tiny babies are tended to by nurses and doctors in the current NICU wards.

For parents of premature and sick babies this place is a lifeline. Maribel Olvera-Gamboa, mother of premature triplets told us: "Being here everyday, you learn there is people that care for them and do take care of them more than what we can do at this time because they need to be in there."

Maribel and Pablo Gamboa of Orange Cove have been here since their triplets were born in early July. He says things are: "Good, pretty good, I'm happy, very happy." Their new son and two daughters will need specialized care at least until what would have been their due date in late October.

The new wing is designed to give parents privacy and help as they transition from hospital to home. Susan Keogh, who is NICU Manager, says the private rooms will really help parents and family members: "A nice room, with a nice environment, with some privacy and trust your ability to look at your infant and know what's best for your infant. Keogh told us the latest research on the outcome of these fragile of babies shows family bonding and education prior to leaving the hospital is a key element of success.

That wasn't known ten years ago when the hospital opened. But room for such projects was built in to its footprint. Jessie Hedging, the hospital's Vice-President of Facilities, says planning a decade ago was the key to future expansion: "So now that patient demand is such that we have the need for new beds we have the ability to construct those beds without actually having to construct another wing."

For parents, like the Gamboa's, whose three babies are now in different wards due to theirs current care needs, time to interact in a private setting together will be very welcome: "Yes. We're hoping that everything goes well. They've had their ups and downs."

As we left the NICU ward where we met the Gamboa family, Maribel's tiny baby was holding onto one finger of her Mother's hand. The bond being forged within this family is what will be nourished by the NICU staff is this new wing of Neo-natal Care at Children's Hospital Central California.

There will continue to be one NICU nurse assigned to each baby in the new 23 individual room wing. Their job will be to insure the health of the little patient and to help guide the comfort level of parents as they prepare to take their baby home.

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