The neonatal intensive care unit at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia has moved from its crowded ward model facility into larger, brighter, safer quarters.
Now 57 beds instead of 47, the unit is located in the hospital’s Kaufman wing on a converted medical/surgical floor. It offers private and semi-private rooms, each with an outside window and natural light to help with development of circadian rhythms. Private rooms have sleep sofas for parents who want to stay with their newborns around the clock. They offer a quieter environment with fewer sounds of alarms and other babies crying, which reduces over-stimulation. Private rooms offer greater opportunities for mother/baby bonding and for staff to partner with parents to console babies recovering from neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome.
All patient telemetry is monitored remotely at seven nurses’ stations throughout the unit, as well as at the bedside. New alerting technology is tied directly to nurses’ wireless phones so they can receive and respond to alarms more quickly. The level III NICU has ventilator capacity for every bed and four isolation rooms when needed. Private and semi-private rooms also reduce the potential for hospital-acquired infections.
The new NICU features onsite workspace for four milk techs who mix and prepare mothers’ milk and donated milk for newborns to ensure the best nutrition.
The project team included architect PF&A Design and general contractor Whiting-Turner.