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New Children’s Hospital space expands NICU care

Mar. 4, 2020, 12:34 PM

Two-month-old Kaimila Lizardo was among the infants who made the move into the new NICU space on the 11th floor of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
Six-week-old Patrick McReynolds was among the infants who made the move into the new NICU space on the 11th floor of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. (photo by Erin O. Smith)

by Jessica Pasley

Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt will house one of the largest Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) in the country with this week’s opening of its newest inpatient space on the 11th floor.

The Level IV-designated NICU, already considered among the best in the country, will now be among the largest, with the total licensed bed count reaching 106.

The 11th floor is the second phase of a four-floor, $150 million construction project to create a 160,000-square-foot expansion.

Patients moved into the newest unit on March 3.

The expansion allows for an additional 10 NICU beds, a much-needed increase to help meet the demands of a growing population in the Nashville area and accommodate the requests from referring hospitals in the region.

“There are multiple benefits for our patients and families that come with creating this new state-of-the-art space,” said Brian Hackett, MD, acting director of the NICU at Children’s Hospital. “The new unit provides the ability for rooming in, which has tremendous advantages for families. The merits of keeping parents and infants together during hospitalization as part of patient-centered practice is well documented.

“We are also excited that we will be able to care for more babies requiring the types of advanced care we offer,” said Hackett.

“We serve as a referral site for all of Middle Tennessee, Southern Kentucky and Northern Alabama. Our beds are consistently full, and this allows for additional families to receive the optimal care their newborn needs.”

The additional NICU beds will be contained on two areas of the floor, for a total of 23 beds. The third wing will house 15 acute care beds.

The 11th floor move comes nine months after the first inpatient unit of the expansion, the Pediatric Heart Institute on the 10th floor, opened in June 2019.

This new 40,000-square-foot floor will increase the total number of beds within the hospital from 305 to 343.

The NICU at Children’s Hospital treats between 1,500 to 1,600 infants each year.

“This expansion is meeting the health care needs of our region,” said one of the nurse managers of neonatal services, Janna Dedman, MSN, RNC-LRN.

“Nashville is growing so fast, so quickly and these additional rooms help us meet the demand. The new units really offer a family-centered care approach, which is the best environment for families to learn how to care for their baby when they go home.

“We are all very excited about this move and the ability to serve more families who need our attention and care,” she said.

The 11th floor was funded by gifts from Laura Jo and Wayne Dugas, the Cal Turner Family Foundation and the James Stephen Turner Family Foundation; Scott and Sandi Borchetta and Big Machine Label Group; Robin and Richard Patton; The Christy-Houston Foundation, Inc.; Kim and Jeff Leeper; Twice Daily and other community partners.

To support the building’s expansion, Children’s Hospital launched the Growing to New Heights Campaign in 2014, a $40 million philanthropic effort that exceeded its fundraising goal.

The cornerstone of the campaign was a $10 million gift from the family of Monroe Carell Jr. and Ann Scott Carell and many other donors.

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