(Boston) – Jan. 21, 2016 – Boston Medical Center (BMC) is marking a major milestone in its clinical campus redesign with the opening of the new Women and Infants Center. The state-of-the-art facility, which features 10 private rooms in the Ullian Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), brings together inpatient and outpatient services, emphasizing the hospital’s commitment to high-quality and integrated care delivery for patients and the newest members of their families.
“At BMC, we’ve built a community of caregivers who understand that familial support is essential to the overall health of an infant, particularly those in the NICU,” said Mary Jo Pedulla, RN, associate chief nurse for maternal child health at BMC. “This new unit was designed not only to make our patients and their families comfortable, but to encourage parents and other family members to interact with the newborn; and to provide our staff with the tools and resources they need to deliver the highest quality care to our moms and our newest patients.”
The 48,000-square-foot center, housed on the fourth floor of the Yawkey building located at 850 Harrison Ave., is designed around BMC’s industry-leading “couplet care” practice, which encourages mothers and newborns to be in the same room for the entire hospital stay. The practice has been shown to facilitate family bonding and support successful breastfeeding as well as boost patient satisfaction. Additionally, soaking tubs will be available in the labor and delivery unit to provide comfort to women seeking a natural birth as well as water therapy to help soothe aching muscles.
“We are always looking for new ways to enhance the patient experience and the options we provide for pain management, including non-pharmacological approaches,” said Aviva Lee-Parritz, MD, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at BMC. “The safety and well-being of our mothers and their babies is our number one priority. By bringing together physicians of all specialties into one center, we’re able to better manage any clinical situation that may arise and address the specific needs of every family that walks through our doors.”
The Ullian NICU is comprised of 22 beds, 10 of which are private, for high-risk patients requiring individualized care and attention. Each private room is equipped with a refrigerator and pull-out couch for family to stay overnight, and is designed to create an environment focused on family-centered care.
“The birthing process is both emotional and exhausting for mothers, as well as other family members,” Pedulla said. “Add in a newborn that is immediately taken from its parents and requires care in the NICU and it can be overwhelming. By allowing parents to spend the night beside their child in the NICU, we are able to give them a little peace of mind.”
BMC’s commitment to innovative, patient-centered care will continue in the new center with services such as its Centering Pregnancy program, in which patients meet with a midwife or physician and other expectant moms in groups to exchange information and build a network of support. The centering model has been shown to significantly improve disparities in health outcomes for women who participate, especially the risk of pre-term birth. Likewise, BMC’s Birth Sisters program, a multi-cultural doula service which offers at-risk mothers “sister-like” support before, during and after birth, has been credited with decreasing caesarian deliveries and increasing breastfeeding rates at BMC.
The center is part of a multi-year clinical campus redesign project that will provide a clinical workspace with updated and expanded facilities to solve BMC’s most pressing care delivery needs as well as make BMC facilities more environmentally efficient. This project is being funded through BMC’s largest fundraising endeavor to date, bond financing and the sale of facilities being vacated as a result of the campus consolidation.