Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills has opened an expanded and refurbished neonatal intensive care unit. The expansion, which cost nearly $9 million and was completed last month, added six beds to the 12 that comprised the original neonatal intensive care unit.
“These babies are among our most vulnerable patients, and it takes a very special group to care for such medically fragile newborns and their families,” said Bernie Klein, Providence Holy Cross Medical Center’s chief executive.
The original neonatal intensive care unit opened in 2010 with 12 beds. But soon after, demand for neonatal beds was so great that the unit was frequently over capacity and infants in need of intensive care had to be transferred to other hospitals in the region while their mothers, still recovering from giving birth, stayed behind.
Construction to add the six beds and related infrastructure was expected to take about nine months, but was delayed as Covid-19 surged. The project received a late boost with the recent injection of $750,000 in federal funds that Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Panorama City, helped obtain.
The move-in date took place about four weeks ago as eight patients were transferred from temporary space in the adult intensive care section to the new unit. The transfer was complex, as all of the equipment helping to keep the patients alive, such as feeding tubes, had to be moved as well. To keep that equipment functioning during the move, portable temporary power sources were brought in.
The expanded and refurbished neonatal intensive care unit now takes up nearly 6,300 square feet, about one-third larger than the original unit. Besides the additional bed space, the unit adds a second isolation room and also includes a treatment room, larger medication, milk-prep and supply rooms and a conference room.
The unit’s new technology includes an upgraded cooling system that’s tied to individual incubators to lower the temperature of a baby after what is often a traumatic labor experience. It also has secure private web cameras at each bed so parents and other loved ones can watch the patients from home.