Bridget Poley, the clinical nurse manager for the NICU and pediatrics at Troy Beaumont, shows off some of the new equipment in the hospital’s new newborn intensive care unit.

Bridget Poley, the clinical nurse manager for the NICU and pediatrics at Troy Beaumont, shows off some of the new equipment in the hospital’s new newborn intensive care unit.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

Troy Beaumont debuts new NICU ward

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published June 22, 2022


TROY — Troy Beaumont Hospital unveiled its new newborn intensive care unit June 9, which hospital staff said will provide a new level of care for children who are born prematurely or with unforeseen health problems.

Roman Livingston, born five weeks early, and his parents, Melissa and Jeremy, were the first to experience the new ward.

“It’s nothing that you expect when you get pregnant,” remarked Melissa. “With Roman, he was five weeks early. One of the last things for a baby to develop in utero is their lungs. His lungs weren’t strong enough yet, so he had some trouble breathing and oxygenating. He was on a ventilator and needed that additional support breathing for the first few weeks.”

Bridget Poley, the clinical nurse manager for the NICU and pediatrics at Troy Beaumont, said the biggest advantage of the new unit is how much additional space it has over the old ward.

“Our old NICU was 4,000 square feet, and the new NICU is 15,000 square feet, so we almost quadrupled in size,” she explained. “It is comprised of private and semiprivate rooms, so there is more space and privacy for the families. Also, there is the opportunity to stay 24 hours at the child’s bedside. In the old unit they had to go home to sleep. There was no room for sleeping in the old NICU.”

Additional updates in technology and resources also were added to the new unit.

“We have some new state-of-the-art technology in the new unit as well,” continued Poley. “Our (life-support) monitors are now integrated into our phones. Any time there is a change in vital signs, we will automatically be alerted.”

Jeremy said that the extra space and resources of the new unit were immediately apparent.

“One of the biggest advantages (of the new ward) has been privacy,” he said. “For my wife and I to be able to have conversations as adults about life is great. You can close the door and talk, which makes a big difference when going through something stressful. The natural light here also is great. The rooms have these great, big windows and that is a breath of fresh air. Roman has taken some of his biggest strides since being able to be in that natural light.”

Poley said that parents being able to stay with their child 24/7 is a huge factor.

“It is really hard for moms to leave their child,” she remarked. “It is not in the plan to be in the NICU, so they want to be with their child, not leaving their child at the hospital. It has definitely improved healing and overall family satisfaction.”

Having been in both the old unit and the new unit, Melissa said the new ward is a huge improvement.

“Had we only been able to be in the old NICU, we would have had a totally different experience,” she added. “The staff here has been amazing, and so personable. They helped us emotionally when things didn’t go as expected. They helped us roll with it and hang on during this emotional roller coaster. They incorporate you into their care even when they’re still isolated in an isolette. I think they’ve prepared us very well for when we can finally take him home.”

The new NICU and its staff can react to a variety of medical needs and address all the common issues that can arise from birth, particularly premature births.

“Every baby’s care is different, depending on their diagnosis,” said Poley. “We monitor all vital signs. Some of them have sugar issues. They might be having respiratory issues, so we go anywhere from a nasal cannula up to a ventilator. We are always looking to provide any care that is needed, depending on the patient.”

The new unit was funded half through donors and half through the regular hospital budget.

“It was an $8 million project,” said Poley. “There were a lot of major donors involved, and you can see plaques in their name around the NICU. We had a donor event some time ago. Many of them shared their experiences, and some had children who were born early and had children who were patients in our old NICU. They wanted to give back to families and make sure they had a better experience than they did.”

Jeremy is hopeful that other families will be able to have as positive an experience as they did in the new unit while weathering what will always be a strenuous time in the best of circumstances.

“Our experience here has been phenomenal,” he said. “Obviously, you never expect when you get pregnant that you will be in the NICU. We are here, though, and the experience here has been incredible. The staff here is second to none. They have been kind and gracious, they have been insightful and answered all of our questions. We were in the old NICU for about a week, and it was a little cramped. There was no privacy. There wasn’t a lot of sunlight, since it was kind of in the middle of the hospital.”