Fort Hamilton’s new special care nursery is latest Butler County effort to help babies and mothers

Fort Hamilton Hospital’s recent completion of its Level IIB Special Care Nursery expansion and renovation is another local addition aimed at improving health care outcomes for babies and their mothers.

The $1.5 million renovation of the nursery provides care for premature babies born after 32 weeks or infants who need special care, according to Kettering Health Network, the health network that operates the hospital.

The expansion provides an updated environment of care to select newborns requiring additional support, according to Nicole Lagedrost, clinical nurse manager of Family Birth Place at Fort Hamilton Hospital.

“We expanded from six beds to eight beds in a Single Family Room model,” Lagedrost said. “We can provide private space for the newborn supporting developmental care and family space in the same room.”

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The rooms at the Family Birthplace/Maternity Unit at Fort Hamilton Hospital are enough to provide for the entire birthing process — labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum. Mothers remain in the same room for their entire stay with the same staff members to care for them.

Fort Hamilton Hospital also has the ability to connect families by opening up connectors between two rooms, a feature that is available for two families at one time if needed.

The renovation also added a three-bed holding nursery for times a mother may need someone else to care for a newborn. Each room is equipped with a television and a recliner. The unit has a new nutrition area for families to access small snacks, coffee and water.

The expansion is part of an overall strategy to grow services at Fort Hamilton Hospital to care for people in all stages of life, according to Ron Connovich, the hospital’s president.

“We are blessed to do this with the most updated equipment available. Our neonatal partnership with Cincinnati Children’s and new environment will allow us to keep as many Level II newborns right here in our community, reducing the need to transfer to other facilities,” he said.

Fort Hamilton Hospital’s latest upgrade is the latest in a series of moves local hospitals have made to improve care of mothers and their babies.

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Atrium Medical Center in Middletown unveiled its Natural Beginnings Birth Center in 2017. It offers a birthing and postpartum environment that fosters self-responsibility and family empowerment, along with access to emergency medical care and a Level II Special Care Nursery should complications arise, according to Atrium officials.

Mothers are surrounded and cared for by midwives, nurses, and board-certified obstetricians who believe in and support the mother’s goal of having a non-medicated birth experience, Atrium officials said.

For postpartum care, Natural Beginnings has 24-hour rooming with no separation of the family unit unless complications arise. The hospital also makes postpartum phone calls to ensure the long-term health and safety of mothers and their family.

Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital’s Family Birthing Center completed an 18-month, $6 million renovation in 2015 to mark the 20th anniversary of its birthing center.

The renovations transformed the hospital’s Level II special care nursery from one large, communal room to eight private, single-patient rooms.

The environment within each room is designed to promote a quiet, healthy environment for babies born earlier than expected or who need specialized care and each features its own state-of-the-art health monitoring system.

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The special care nursery at West Chester Hospital opened in April 2015 as part of the $10 million, 26,500-square-foot maternity services wing that also opened at the same time, according to Amanda Nageleisen, a UC Health spokeswoman.

The nursery is a Level IIB neonatal intensive care unit, providing advanced care to infants born at 32 weeks or later or those that are full-term and require close monitoring of problems that are expected to resolve soon, Nageleisen said.

It can treat babies with some medical difficulties due to prematurity, such as jaundice, trouble maintaining body temperature, or feeding issues. Level IIB designation means that the nursery can provide some respiratory assistance (CPAP or mechanical ventilation) for short periods of time, usually less than 24 hours.

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The Christ Hospital Health Network opened a family birthing center at The Christ Hospital Medical Center-Liberty Township in January 2018.

The birthing center includes nine labor, delivery, recovery, post-partum and nursing rooms, four private special care nursery rooms, and two dedicated cesarean section birthing rooms

The medical center is home to the only cesarean section birth viewing room in the region, allowing families to be in the room with the mother during a planned cesarean section birth with prior permission from the physician.

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