Saint Joseph London opens Neonatal Unit

·2 min read

May 24—The community's smallest population — those tiny babies who are born with special needs, underweight or premature — now have a closer place to grow and prosper.

Saint Joseph London medical center hosted a ribbon-cutting and dedication of its newest addition — a neonatal unit that will keep those special newborns close to home.

The ceremony was held on Monday, May 22 with Father Mani George blessing the new unit after a ribbon cutting ceremony. The new neonatal unit is located on the third floor next to the Birthing Center.

John Yanes, President of Saint Joseph London, said there are 1,200 babies born at the hospital each year, with approximately 20 to 30 of those having to be transferred to neonatal units in Lexington due to their special needs.

Occupying 40,000 square feet with six private rooms, the neonatal unit will offer parents the opportunity to stay in the room with their child and enhance the bonding between mother and baby rather than being placed in a unit with several other babies as is common in other hospitals. The rooms are set up with a couch for parents and stations equipped with portals for whatever technology devices are necessary to maintain the baby's health.

Erin Anderson, Nursing Director, said the new unit brings the quality of care to Level II, which has higher standards of patient care. Nurses working in that unit have taken training to reach that certification.

"We can administer Surfactant, which helps babies breathe as a Level II care unit," Anderson said. "The neonatal unit allows parents to stay in the room with the child and keeps them close without having to drive to other cities."

The nearly $1 million grant from the ARC (Appalachian Regional Commission) was gained through various agencies, starting with Senator Mitch McConnell's London office and extending to the UNITE organization, WHAS Crusade for Children, the Saint Joseph London Foundation, state and local officials and local private donors.

The plan to create a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) was launched three years ago and Monday's ceremony was a celebration of combined effort of all agencies to provide quality care for families in the region.

Yanes said the neonatal unit was another mission of the CHI Saint Joseph Healthcare System, which strives to bring quality care to its local communities and to provide the best patient care close to home.

Attending the ceremony were Rocky Adkins, senior advisor for Gov. Andy Beshear, Senator Brandon Storm — father of preemies, and Robbin Taylor, state director for U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.