Suite start at Community Hospital

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New birthing center: Community Hospital in Munster has opened its new, expanded Family Birthing Center in the new Parkview Tower, a four-story addition located above the Emergency Room pavilion. | Supplied photo

Community Hospital in Munster opened its new Family Birthing Center last week, a state-of-the-art facility that doubles the capacity of the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit and offers amenities and resources geared toward helping moms and their babies throughout the birthing process and beyond.

The Family Birthing Center comprises three of the four stories in the new $34 million Parkview Tower addition, located above the Emergency Room pavilion.

Construction began in January 2013.

In addition to NICU, the tower has a mother/baby unit that includes 25 private suites, a labor and delivery unit that facilitates various birthing options and an intermediate care unit with 32 private rooms and specialized heart monitoring equipment.

“The majority of the $34 million has gone into the new Family Birthing Center,” hospital spokeswoman Marie Forszt said.

Forszt said the expanded center has many modern features and amenities for the moms and the approximately 2,100 babies delivered there each year, which she said is the largest number of births in Lake County. She said Community has seen an increased number of babies needing neonatal intensive care, necessitating the larger unit.

“Lake County has a lot of premature infants born due to a lack of prenatal care,” Forszt said.

Premature infants have a higher mortality rate, she said.

The neonatal intensive care unit is on the fifth floor of the new tower. It includes 32 neonatal beds, two isolation rooms, an in-house neonatologist available 24/7, patient monitors, advanced newborn incubator beds with environment control, two parent overnight suites and private lactation rooms.

Mom will go through labor and delivery in the same room, located on the sixth floor.

“We do skin to skin with mom and baby right after the baby is born. It helps with the hormonal balance of the mother,” Forszt said.

The new Labor and Delivery unit includes 12 private suites with large walk-in showers and convertible guest sofa beds, two surgical Caesarean section suites and a hydrotherapy suite with water immersion tub for mom to labor in if she chooses this option.

In normal situations, the mother and baby will then be transported to the mother/baby unit on the fourth floor, Forszt said. She said the baby will remain with mom as long as mom wants.

“There’s a nursery available if mom needs some rest,” Forszt said.

The mother/baby unit features 25 private suites with convertible sleeper-sofas if dad would like to stay, a nursery with baby spa and advanced security system. Rooms have flat panel televisions and free Wi-Fi access.

Moms can receive lactation support, newborn education and CPR training. Each new mom receives a car seat and sleep sack to promote safety for baby’s transition to home.

The new pavilion also includes an intermediate care unit on the third floor for patients who need heart monitoring. Staff are specially trained to take care of patients with chest pain, cardiac arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, COPD, stroke and a variety of neurological conditions.

The floor has 32 private intermediate care rooms with private restrooms and heart monitoring and other specialized equipment.