Construction Under Way for Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

After years of fundraising, advocating, and raising awareness, the CHRISTUS
Southeast Texas Foundation is proud to announce that the construction of the
CHRISTUS St. Elizabeth Hospital level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit began on
January 12, 2016 and is expected to be completed December 2016. The Foundation
helped to raise $1.7 million towards the renovation effort.
“The CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Foundation is proud to be a part of such an impactful
endeavor for our community. We have been working with the hospital
and the NICU staff towards this renovation and we are excited to see the meaningful
results it will bring to our tiniest and neediest patients,” said Foundation
President Ivy Pate.
The “demolition day” culminated in a media event, commemorating and revealing
the beginning of a cutting-edge transformation of the unit, its technology,
resources and programs.
The renovation will include three new private rooms; Giraffe Omnibeds; oscillating
ventilators; specialized nutrition offerings; ancillary services; and family
centered care. Additionally, the renovated unit will boast specialized lighting
and noise reduction techniques in the ceilings and flooring that will assist in
protecting the critical infant’s developing brain.
As part of the unit’s renovation and transformation, CHRISTUS Southeast Texas
St. Elizabeth will construct a “rooming in room” that will be offered to parents of
long-term patients or parents that feel they need a night caring for their baby
with the comfort of the NICU staff in the next room. Also, each bed space is
larger than before and will offer privacy for parents wanting to do Kangaroo
care and / or breastfeed at the bedside.
CHRISTUS – St. Elizabeth Hospital is working towards becoming a “Baby Friendly”
Hospital by 2017, and one major portion of this designation is improving
breastfeeding practices. Three hundred babies per year are discharged from the
St. Elizabeth Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). These babies have life threatening
medical conditions. Donor breast milk is the best option, short of breastfeeding,
for all babies, but especially NICU babies. This vulnerable population
needs the highest levels of nutrition and antibodies in order to grow and thrive.
Breast milk strengthens the immune system, reduces the likelihood of ear infections,
protects from allergies, and builds up better brain and nervous system
development, just to name a few benefits.
CHRISTUS Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth remains the first and only NICU in the
region to offer human donor breast milk to the most vulnerable population of
preterm and low birth weight infants in the system’s care.
Another exciting service that the NICU recently implemented is the NICU transport
team. This team of highly-skilled NICU nurses transport premature infants
from area hospitals with lower level NICUs to the CHRISTUS – St. Elizabeth Hospital
NICU, reducing the need to send these vulnerable infants all the way to
Houston, a 90 mile trip one way for families who are already under a great deal
of emotional stress.
As the only level III NICU in the area, CHRISTUS St. Elizabeth Hospital prides
itself on keeping families together and keeping babies closer to home, decreasing
the need to send babies to Houston for care.

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