Christiana Care Health System Wednesday markedthe installation of the final steelwork for the newCenter for Women & Children’s Health.
The center will open at Christiana Hospital south of Newark in 2020.
In a traditional construction ceremony, beams with an American flag, a Christiana Care flag and an evergreen tree were placed atop the building to signify that the structure has reached its highest point.
Architect is HKS, with Skanska serving as construction manager. The new center will adjoin the current two-story Women & Children’s building.
Christiana Care CEO Dr. Janice Nevin says the center is designed to provide “innovative ways to care for women and children”including a new neonatal intensive carethat reflect the latest findings on the care of premature newborns. Planning for the center was a collaborative effort that involved Christiana Care staff as well as patients and other stakeholders.
According to Nevin, very premature newborns fare better when not separated from their families. The center will be the first in the region to offer “couplet care” that keeps mothers and babies together in private rooms that also offer sleep-in space for families.
Other features will include a family rooftop garden, redesigned labor and delivery units, labor lounge, private maternity rooms and an expanded continuing care nursery for babies with special needs.
Christiana Care has been a leader in neonatal care for decades as Delaware battled a high infant mortality rate. The rate remains highand Nevin says the state is beginning to see a point of diminishing returns in neonatal care.
Nevin says Christiana Care will continue to focus on working with communities to ensure that mothers receive proper care and nutrition during pregnancy. More than one speaker at the last beam event emphasized the need to eliminates disparities in care based on income levels and other factors.
Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long said the Women’s Health Center marks another milestone in efforts aimed at a healthier Delaware. Hall-Long remains a nursing program faculty member at the University of Delaware and noted that she started her career as nurse in a neonatal unit.
Hall-Long said she has been gratified by the work of nursing students who have gone to work at Christiana Care and also took note of successes in neonatal care that include a recent Delaware beauty pageant winner who came into this world weighing one pound.
Christiana Care delivers more than 6,000 babies a year, the highest number for any health care provider in Delaware. Christiana Care is also the state’s sole high-risk delivering hospital with a Level III neonatal intensive care unit. That 6,000 figure includes hundreds of babies born to mothers using drugs whoneed of special care.
Christiana Care has also recorded one of the nation’s lowest rates of cesarian births and their many complications. A recent study indicates that inducing labor at 39 weeks for first-time mothers leads to better outcomes and fewer cesarian births.
For more information, log on to www.christianacare.org/whoweare.