ONONDAGA, N.Y. — The chief administrative officer of Upstate University Hospital’s Community Campus says she’s pleased with the results of the facility’s renovated family birth center.
Nancy Daoust shared remarks at a Dec. 5 ceremony in which the Community campus formally opened the center following the renovation work.
“We started out with just wanting to update showers and get showers in the rooms and this is where we’ve landed now,” Daoust said to open the ceremony.
Construction crews have finished a $9.2 million renovation project at the family birth center at Upstate University Hospital’s Community campus at 4900 Broad Road in the town of Onondaga.
The center will begin housing mothers and babies throughout the entire 21-bed unit starting in January. It’s located on the hospital’s second floor.
“We now have the most modern labor and delivery and post-partum unit in Syracuse,” Dr. Howard Weinstein, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Upstate’s Community campus, said in his remarks at the formal-opening ceremony.
Construction on the 29,000-square-foot space project started in November 2016, Upstate said in a news release. The facility hosted a media tour of the birth center on Dec. 5.
PAC Associates of Oswego Inc. was the contractor on the renovation project. Syracuse–based Dwyer Architectural handled the design work on the project.
Nurse manager reaction
Barbara Bennett, nurse manager of the family birth center, called the birth center “outdated” before the renovation project.
She made her comment in speaking with reporters during the media tour before the formal-opening ceremony.
“We still gave great care. Moms loved it. People came back for their babies … but we were outdated,” said Bennett.
The rooms were semi-private. They had a toilet and sink but mothers had to go across the hall to shower. And sometimes two mothers shared the same room.
“Two Moms, two Dads, and two babies and [a] bassinet in a room probably less than half the size of these new rooms,” she said.
Bennett called the new rooms and bathroom “hotel-like,” with room for family members to come visit.
The center includes a labor-and-delivery unit and a post-partum unit.
“After Mom delivers, she and baby will come over together because we do what we call couplet care now, so Mom and baby never leave each other’s side unless baby gets ill,” said Bennett. “Very few hospitals have what they call healthy nurseries anymore.”
The facility can accommodate 21 Moms and 21 babies, she noted.
The renovation work
Upstate Medical University describes the post-partum section of the completed floor as “unrecognizable” when compared to the pre-renovation space. The renovations included a new floor plan, expanded rooms, new family lounge spaces, a new six-bed nursery, nursing upgrades, and technology improvements.
The unit also has a dedicated lactation room for one-on-one support sessions with Upstate staff.
“Moms come here healthy. They’re not sick. They don’t want to be treated as sick. They want to have good meals. They want their families to visit,” Bennett told reporters during the media tour.
The project was split into two phases to allow the Community campus to continue caring for moms and babies as the project continued. Crews completed the first phase in the fall of 2017. It involved renovating 12 patient rooms, a nursing station, and the hallways of half of the post-partum unit.
The work on the second phase finished in November. It included the remaining patient rooms, an additional nurses’ station, the lactation room, and the six-bed nursery.
The rooms were designed to allow visitors and for a father or loved one to stay overnight in the room with the mother and the newborn. Each room also has a computer and supply cart for the nursing staff.