Maternity RoomArchitectural illustration of the future maternity rooms.

Published: Synapse 2013, Vol. 3

Welcoming a new baby into the family is a very special time for everyone... mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents, and treasured loved ones. The excitement has been building for nine months, and the first days spent with the child are precious. Women who plan to deliver their babies at Chester County Hospital now have a new reason to anticipate an exceptional experience for their entire family during the first days following birth.

In May 2014, the hospital will open the second floor of the Lasko Tower as a brand new maternity unit designed with the total family experience in mind. Chester County Hospital has always been known for providing excellent maternity care and offering the latest technologies and medical expertise. The design of the spacious and modern new unit has raised that level of care even higher by adding special amenities and creating a comfortable, nurturing environment that helps shape a birth experience as truly special as such a momentous time in life deserves.

One of the most anticipated aspects of the new unit is the fact that it will feature all private, single rooms. Every room has a home-like quality and includes a private bathroom, large windows, a flat-screen TV, extra space for flowers and gifts, in-room controls for lighting and room temperature, as well as a comfortable sitting area for families - complete with a couch that converts to a bed so the mother and baby's room easily accommodates a family member during overnight visitation. Of course, all the technical elements needed to provide medical care in a hospital room setting are close at hand, but the features are designed to fit in subtly or remain out of sight.

Celeste E. DeBaptiste, MDCeleste E. Debaptiste, M.D.

"Chester County Hospital has a tremendous reputation with our maternity patients. New mothers are confident about our exceptional care, and they absolutely love our nurses," explains Celeste E. DeBaptiste, MD, Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

"The only concern some patients have had, at times, is that we could not always guarantee them a private room on the existing unit, although our nurses always tried whenever possible. It's great to be able to put this important step in place, giving everyone a private room and a wholly family-oriented experience during those special first days with baby when everything is so new."

A family-friendly, home-like feel is apparent across the new Tower. Windows bring in a lot of natural light. Halls and rooms are spacious and quiet. Colors are warm and soothing. Furniture is comfortable. Ample space is available for families to spend time together without being restricted to patient rooms, including a large, welcoming area just outside the unit and another more intimate spot inside the unit. Mothers and families will also have access to a room designated just for refreshments, where families can find a snack if hungry and store or warm up food brought in from home, such as a new mother's favorite dish.

Although visitors are always welcome on the unit, they do have to go through an identification process as a security measure. They also must adhere to the unit's designated "quiet time," between 2 and 4 pm every afternoon. "The idea behind having a 'quiet time' is to give our moms a chance to decompress a little. After you deliver a baby, there is so much going on. So much excitement. You can forget to breathe," says Liz Waterhouse, RN, Maternity Unit Manager. "During our quiet time, moms and dads or birth partners are able to relax, sit and talk with each other without a lot of interaction with family or friends. It allows them to reconnect and be a family with just the baby. And, if they choose to have the baby visit the nursery during quiet time, it gives them a chance to nap."

Mothers are encouraged to keep their babies with them in their rooms during their stay so they can bond with and personally care for their new arrival, but a nursery will be located at the center of the unit. According to Waterhouse, other hospitals have built maternity units without including a nursery. "In retrospect, they found that their moms couldn't take a break if they wanted or needed one because there was no nursery on the unit," she explains. "If a new mom wants to get an hour's sleep or take a moment for herself, it's important to have a nursery right there that is well staffed to take care of the baby."

Even the nursing stations on Chester County's new maternity unit will be positioned with mothers and families in mind. Instead of one large nursing station, there will be two small stations - one at each end of the unit. There will also be individual alcoves, complete with a desk and computer, located between patient rooms where a nurse can update medical records without having to return to one of the main nursing stations. The new layout makes sure nurses are visible and accessible to patients. And, to make patient care even more fluid and consistent, the same nurse is assigned to both mother and baby throughout their stay.

"Our clinical team goes out of its way to make sure the needs of mom and baby are always met, and that every mom feels comfortable and understands everything about caring for and bringing home her baby. Breastfeeding, lactation support, bottle-feeding, bathing, diapering, burping, car safety ... nothing is left out, and all the family's questions are answered," says Frances Doyle, MSN, RN, CNML, Director of Maternal Child Services.

"Remember, a maternity unit is a unique hospital setting. For the most part, our patients are not what you would consider ill or sick. New moms may be tired, uncomfortable and recovering. They may be going through a wide range of emotions. But they are not sick. Our nurses are experienced, extremely caring, and they know our patients very well. They are right there to help, support and teach our mothers and families. They also understand and respect the need for privacy and alone time."

The new maternity unit was designed to support the extraordinary level of commitment shown by the hospital's team of experienced doctors and talented nurses in a special environment that offers just the right blend of comfort, technology and medical expertise. It was designed around the wishes and needs of mother, child and family. Women who plan to deliver their babies at Chester County Hospital can look forward to a wonderful start with their new baby and cherished family memories that will last a lifetime.

By Beth Eburn

Inpatient Pediatrics and CHOP Pediatric Care

Emergency treatment and admission to the hospital can be frightening for children and parents. The hospital's caring staff understands that when a child is hospitalized, the whole family is affected. It will partner with you to provide the best care for your child and support for your family. CHOP Pediatric Care combines the extensive resources of CHOP with the strong experience and excellent facilities of Chester County Hospital.

Neonatology and CHOP Newborn Care

Affiliated with The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the Hospital's CHOP Newborn Care neonatologists work in concert with the hospital's perinatologists, obstetricians, pediatricians, anesthesiologists, specially trained neonatal nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and respiratory therapists to deliver the county's highest level of neonatal services on a 24-hour basis.

Maternal Fetal Medicine

The Maternal Fetal Medicine team at Chester County Hospital provides expert care that blends knowledge, experience, technology and compassion. The team includes board certified specialists in perinatology from Penn Medicine's Ob/Gyn Department, and a clinical staff who are certified and trained to support the needs of high-risk maternity patients.

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