A new mom has a lot on her mind before baby’s arrival, but when she’s carrying a high-risk baby those worries and questions can become overwhelming.
Now, with the opening of Akron Children’s new special delivery unit in our Kay Jewelers Pavilion, healthy moms and at-risk babies can stay together from delivery through baby’s treatment.
“We’ve created a calming, home-like environment for mom near the most sophisticated technology and care for baby,” said Dana Nelson, CNS, administrative director, maternal fetal medicine at Akron Children’s Hospital. “Our maternal fetal medicine doctors can work with mom’s existing physician or take over care to ensure baby is delivered just steps away from our Level 3 NICU and pediatric specialists.”
Through a collaborative care approach, physicians may refer or transfer care to Akron Children’s fetal treatment program, generally around 28-34 weeks of pregnancy. Once referred, mom undergoes a full medical evaluation, which is used to create an individual plan tailored to baby’s needs.
The baby’s care plan is reviewed during a face-to-face meeting with the entire care team – parents, doctors and specialists. In doing so, everyone understands their roles, asks questions and puts a plan in place before baby’s arrival.
For physicians unable to meet in person, 2 large-screen monitors allow them to video conference into a meeting.
“As we were designing this space we listened to families who brought up the importance of meeting doctors in person before they needed their help,” said Dr. Melissa Mancuso, maternal fetal medicine specialist and director of Akron Children’s fetal treatment program. Nelson. “We responded by creating a conference room within the unit to facilitate private, personal communication with doctors or the fetal treatment team staff during mom’s stay.”
The new unit features 2 spacious operating rooms to care for mom and baby. The C-section OR is large enough for the care team, equipment and family to be close to mom during delivery.
The fetal operating room is connected to mom’s OR so baby has immediate access to the specialists and equipment needed after delivery.
If surgery isn’t needed, a resuscitation team stabilizes the baby before going to the NICU where his next care team awaits.
“The thoughtful design of this space not only creates the best environment for baby’s pending arrival, but also promotes relaxation and communication among families and staff,” said Nelson. “I’m thrilled with the result and I think moms will be, too.”
As part of our year-long anniversary celebration, we’re telling the story of Akron Children’s through the eyes of past and present employees, doctors, donors, volunteers and patient families. We encourage you to share your own memories and stories about us.
About Suzi Schenkenberger
Suzi Schenkenberger is a freelance writer and public relations consultant. With more than 15 years experience, Suzi has written for local and national brands including GE, Diebold, Akron Children's Hospital and E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall.