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WakeMed to Expand Intensive Care Nursery to Include Private Rooms

RALEIGH, N.C. (September 16, 2009) – WakeMed Health & Hospitals has received approval to expand its neonatal Intensive Care Nursery (ICN) by 12 additional beds to a total of 48 beds. WakeMed Raleigh Campus is the only Level IV Intensive Care Nursery in Wake County, offering the highest level of neonatal intensive care. During this expansion, WakeMed will begin the process of converting neonatal beds to private rooms, which will allow parents to sleep in the room and care for their hospitalized infants.

“Currently, care in our ICN is provided to babies in pods, which affords families more privacy than most ICNs and enables us to better control the light and noise to which premature infants are very sensitive,” commented Elizabeth Rice, director of women’s and children’s services. “The new private rooms will allow us to control and customize the babies’ environment according to individual needs and also improve our ability to provide more family-centered care.”

The 12 new private rooms will allow parents to be more involved in the babies care, encourage parent/baby bonding, and will ease the transition home. Several of the new private rooms will also be able to accommodate twins or triplets or more multiples, which will further enhance the family experience. The new private rooms will also improve infection control by enabling better isolation. Future plans include converting all neonatal beds to private rooms.

“The need for these additional beds is great,” commented Susan Gutierrez, manager of the Intensive Care Nursery. “We are consistently running at or above capacity and as the region grows and multiple births become more frequent, we are seeing a greater need for neonatal intensive care services.”

WakeMed last expanded its Intensive Care Nursery in 2003 when it added eight neonatal beds and 3,000 square feet. This newest addition will expand the nursery by 12,098 square feet at a cost of $8.9 million. The expansion will be accommodated by renovating existing space vacated during the move to the new 168,000 square feet new patient tower currently under construction on the WakeMed Raleigh Campus. The Intensive Care Nursery will be directly linked to the Children’s Hospital that will be on the fourth floor of the new patient tower and will be funded by the $20 million Just for Kids Kampaign. Community support is needed to make these two projects a reality. To learn more or to donate, please visit www.wakemed.org and select charitable giving.

In calendar year 2008, WakeMed treated 650 babies in the ICN. WakeMed is one of the largest providers of pediatric care in North Carolina with more than 142,000 pediatric patient contacts in 2008 alone. The new Children’s Hospital and Intensive Care Nursery expansion will enhance and expand the services that WakeMed can provide to children and increase much needed in-patient beds.

About WakeMed Health & Hospitals

WakeMed Health & Hospitals, one of the first hospital systems in the country, is a private, not-for-profit health care organization based in Raleigh, N.C. The 870-bed system comprises a network of health care facilities throughout Wake and Johnston Counties, including: a Level I Trauma Center and tertiary referral hospital and rehabilitation hospital in Raleigh, a community hospital in Cary, comprehensive outpatient centers and freestanding emergency departments in North Raleigh and Apex, seven outpatient rehabilitation sites, two skilled-nursing and outpatient facilities, a 100+-physician multispecialty practice, and home health services. The system includes accredited Chest Pain Centers and Joint Commission Primary Stroke Centers.

Throughout the system, there are an additional 60 beds under construction and 41 newly approved by the state. WakeMed also provides management services for Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital in Dunn, NC. Centers of excellence include cardiac and vascular care, women’s and children’s services, physical rehab, emergency and trauma, orthopaedics, neurosciences, home care and numerous wellness and community outreach programs.

WakeMed’s team of 7,000 nurses, technologists and medical support staff and more than 1,000 affiliated physicians serve the residents of North Carolina using the most advanced technologies and facilities to ensure the finest in health care.