Southcoast Health Unveils Special Care Nursery at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford – New Bedford Guide

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“A 6,600 square foot unit that will treat critically ill newborns and their mothers has received approval from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and is preparing to receive patients at St. Luke’s Hospital, this announcement announced. Southcoast Health officials week.

The new unit features fully integrated couplet housings designed and built to coordinate acute care for infant and mother, among the first of its kind in the Commonwealth.


Dr Jessica Slusarski, RN Sharon Souza and RN Kim Pina. Photo by Southcoast Health.

During a ribbon-cutting ceremony for clinical and operational staff, as well as key community supporters, attendees toured the new Special Care Nursery. An addition to the newly renovated Stoico/FIRSTFED Women and Children’s Pavilion at St. Luke’s, it features eight private crib rooms, including couplet care quarters, equipped with airborne isolation capability for transmissible viruses .

Additionally, multiple prep, stabilization/triage, visit, and education spaces have been built to create a unified and intuitive facility, making the patient journey even safer and more complete.

With a new state-of-the-art baby safety system installed, as well as central monitoring allowing staff to continuously monitor patients’ vital signs from three different nursing stations, the President and Chief Southcoast Health executive Dr. Ray Kruger said the special care nursery will bring immediate benefits to patients and their care teams.

“After announcing this high priority project earlier this year, we are proud to open it up to our community in the coming weeks,” said Kruger.


The “Guess how much I love you?” bedroom. Photo by Southcoast Health.

“It’s a very big day for some of our very little patients, and it marks a major step forward in the already exceptional care that Southcoast’s dedicated nurses, doctors and staff provide with skill and compassion.”

Neonatologist Dr Jessica Slusarski is one such provider and said she and the Special Care Nursery team are ‘incredibly proud of the level of care we are able to provide babies and families’ of southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

“The special care nursery is primarily a place where newborns receive additional medical care after delivery in preparation for their return home. In our nursery, we care for babies with a myriad of conditions, most commonly prematurity, respiratory disease, infections, jaundice, hypoglycemia, heart disease, and neonatal opioid withdrawal,” Slusarski said. .

“The goal of coupled care is to provide uninterrupted care for mother and baby from birth to discharge from hospital. We will be able to initiate care of eligible infants in the labor room with their mother, and then continue postpartum maternal care here in the special care nursery in the same room as her baby. This is such an exciting advancement in care for our patients, and it’s very special to be one of the first hospitals in the state to offer this option,” she said, adding:

“We know that the time our patients spend with us is relatively short and that the transition of a newborn’s care from hospital to home begins upon admission. We work hard to include our parents and families in all aspects of patient care, from encouraging early skin-to-skin and kangaroo care to feeding, diaper changes and bathing. The environment of the special care nursery is a crucial determinant of parental presence. We want families to feel welcome, comfortable and empowered during their stay here.


Corridor of the special care nursery. Photo by Southcoast Health.

The special care nursery also includes a tribute to longtime nurse Sharon Souza, according to St. Luke’s Women and Children’s Pavilion Executive Director Kim Pina, RN.

“Sharon was a Registered Nurse in the Level II Nursery for 42 years. She is now a volunteer and her commitment is an inspiration to all of us,” Pina said.

“Sharon goes above and beyond for every patient and never wants to be recognized for it. She gave each baby’s family a book before they left the hospital, encouraging parents to read to their children to help them develop. I’m thrilled to share that our new Special Care Nursery will include ‘Sharon’s Library’, which will ensure that every family receives a book, represented by the book cover displayed in each crib room. This program, named in honor of Sharon, is made possible through books donated by Jill Fearons’ Friends of Jack Foundation.

In addition to children’s book covers, spaces in the Special Care Nursery will be decorated with depictions of animals at the Buttonwood Park Zoo.

“Every choice we made in the design and construction of this unit was made with our patients and the community in mind,” said Southcoast Health Vice President of Support Services Philip Oliveira.

“So many neighbours, supporters and partners came together to make this happen, and I want to thank everyone who volunteered their time and talent. Special thanks also to Derek Vieira of Southcoast, Robin Hodkinson and the entire project team, as well as Construction Manager Consigli Construction and Lavallee Brensinger Architects.


Photo by Southcoast Health.

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About Southcoast Health

For more than 25 years, Southcoast Health has served communities in Southeast Massachusetts and Rhode Island as the region’s largest provider of primary and specialty care. The charitable non-profit system includes three acute care hospitals – Charlton Memorial in Fall River, St. Luke’s in New Bedford (a Level II trauma centre) and Tobey’s in Wareham – as well as a network of more than 700 doctors , hospitalists and mid-level practitioners.

Southcoast Health has established seven urgent care centers, two cancer centers, a visiting nurses association and numerous outpatient facilities that ensure convenient access to services for 725,000 residents in 33 communities covering 900 square miles. Additionally, the system partners with Acadia Healthcare to provide expanded resources to Southcoast Behavioral Health in Dartmouth.

Southcoast Health is Newsweek’s Best Hospital in the World in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. In 2021, St. Luke’s was named one of Newsweek and Leapfrog’s Top Maternity Hospitals for the second consecutive year, while US News ranked Southcoast among top 10 hospitals in Massachusetts. , and 2nd among those in the Providence metropolitan area. For three consecutive years, Southcoast Health has won Best Hospitals and Best Workplace in the SouthCoast Media Group’s Best of the Best awards, as voted on by residents and readers.

With more than 7,500 employees, Southcoast Health is the largest employer in Southeast Massachusetts and one of the largest employers in the Commonwealth, according to the Boston Business Journal.

More information is available online at www.southcoast.org. Connect with Southcoast Health via social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Southcoast® is a registered trademark of Southcoast Health System.

Southcoast Hospitals Group, which includes Charlton Memorial Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital and Tobey’s Hospital, is Newsweek’s 2020 World’s Best Hospital.

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