Sanford Health opened its new 26-bed neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in Bismarck, North Dakota, on July 27, making Sanford the first hospital in central and western North Dakota to offer private rooms in its NICU.
Mackenzie, Corey and their baby Emmersyn just moved into the new neonatal intensive care unit at Sanford Health in Bismarck. Emmersyn was born early due to a possible infection, which requires her to stay in the NICU for a few weeks before she goes home.
The family spent about five days in Sanford’s old NICU, which was one big bay area for all of the NICU babies. Now, Mackenzie and Corey have their own space with their very own private room.
“Downstairs it was this whole huge room, so if you’re sitting there visiting or singing songs you kind of feel like you’re disrupting the other patients,” Mackenzie said. “But up here you can kind of sit a few feet away from her and sing or read stories and you don’t feel like you’re disrupting anyone.”
Mackenzie also has more privacy for when it’s time to feed Emmersyn.
“I pumped some milk for her and I got to stay in her own room. That was nice because you didn’t have to leave and then come back in and scrub your arms and hands for three minutes,” said Mackenzie.
The private rooms also allow Mom and Dad to spend the night with their newborn.
“In here we can stay overnight too, which is nice,” Mackenzie said. “Because it’s so hard to go home and know that your little baby has to stay, so now we can stay with her at night too.”
The new NICU is twice as big as the old unit and includes 10 private rooms, four double rooms, two cross-over rooms and a six-bed bay.
“Sanford is thrilled to begin offering our preemie babies and their families more space, privacy and amenities during their stay with us,” said Randi Schaffer, executive director of Sanford Women’s and Children’s. “The NICU also features a cutting-edge lighting system which will significantly help our tiny babies who are born dependent to drugs or alcohol.”
Mark and Claudia Thompson of Bismarck made a $500,000 gift to the Sanford Health Foundation. Their generous donation benefits the NICU.
Sanford is also in the process of expanding its Birth Center in Bismarck, which will feature updated amenities and rooms equipped with whirlpool tubs to help laboring mothers achieve a more comfortable labor. The Family Birth Center is expected to be complete in 2022.
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