The Women and Infant Care Unit (WICU) at Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital will hold an open house and tour of its newly refurbished Labor and Delivery areas tomorrow between 4:30 and 6 p.m.
The event will feature a tour of the new nursery, labor and delivery suite, and waiting room, along with refreshments and entertainment for children.
Tim Stephens, vice president of professional services, invites everyone in the community to attend, but especially expectant Moms and Dads, older brothers and sisters, and grandparents.
“We believe we’ve created a warm and inviting atmosphere to help welcome the newest members of our community,” he said.
The redecorated unit will feature new décor and art from a number of local artists, where possible, highlighting familiar scenes, Stephens added.
“The delivery room artwork was chosen to help foster a soothing environment, and to give our laboring moms something to focus on,” he said. “The nursery artwork adds a touch of whimsy.”
Ann Erdmann, MSN, RNC, director of WICU, said the unit has been painted in natural earth tones, accented by wall art and furnishings.
“We want women to have an outstanding experience,” Erdmann said. “They should feel comfortable, well supported, and safe. Safety is a priority for us, so in addition to readily available specialized equipment, our physicians and nurses all have additional training in fetal monitoring, neonatal resuscitation and stabilization, breast feeding, and emergency management.
Erdmann said women are invited to voice their desires for their labor and delivery process.
“We believe in customizing our care to meet the expectations of our patients and their families,” she explained. “We want to help our patients achieve an optimal experience.”
The WICU will continue to provide women with the same range of services in this improved environment, she said. Services include natural childbirth, childbirth with pain management, doula (non-medical coach) assisted childbirth, laboring in a hot tub, and cesarean births, Erdmann said.
“We want each mother to have control of her labor, with the safety of physician assistance and nursing support.”
In addition to childbirth, the WICU provides postpartum care and GYN services. The unit includes three labor/delivery/recovery rooms and an operative delivery room for high-risk births. The nursery area includes space for 10 newborns, plus four special care infants, although Erdmann noted that babies are normally allowed to stay in their mothers’ rooms. Twelve rooms are available for postpartum and GYN patients.
The unit also features two new fetal monitors and carts, and new infant warmers donated by the hospital’s Auxiliary.
At the open house, Ron Rodecker, local resident and creator of the “Dragon Tales” cartoon on PBS, will provide entertainment for children, including live drawing and giving away coloring books. In addition, Ben Franklin’s Crafts will assist young participants in T-shirt decorating, The BriarPatch will feature home made baby-food tastings, and Treats will serve ice cream.
Other organizations with a presence at the open house include Nest, Future Generations, and Peace Love Swap Play. They will be on hand to provide information about birthing and infant care, pre-natal and post-partum classes, doula services, child safety and other topics.
The public will be taken on tours of the new labor/delivery area, nursery, waiting room, and laboring spa.
Erdmann said the refurbishing project was prompted by flooding last September when a sudden, intense, and unexpected storm passed over while the facility’s roof was being replaced.
“The rain leaked through all the nail holes and we had water everywhere,” she said.
Despite that challenge, 505 babies were delivered in the unit during the last fiscal year, Erdmann noted. And the WICU team is ready for more.
All physicians providing care for patients at SNMH are members of the medical staff and are independent practitioners, not employees of the hospital.