SEATTLE, Aug. 12, 2010 – Swedish today announced the opening of its expanded Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The $3.7 million project at the Swedish/First Hill campus (747 Broadway) includes 15 additional neonatal intensive care beds increasing the capacity for treating seriously ill and premature infants, family rooms, a family lounge and an educational conference center for staff. The total number of beds now available in the Swedish NICU is 76. The project was made possible by more than $1.5 million in generous donations from the community in support of this local health-care resource. Swedish is home to the largest , most comprehensive obstetrical program in the Puget Sound region.
“The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is an important part of our health-care system at Swedish, and the new additional unit space allows us to serve and care for more premature and seriously ill newborns,” said Cal Knight, president and chief operating officer at Swedish. “It is our goal to provide the very best neonatal intensive care services for the communities we serve. We will continue to strive to meet the needs of our patients and their families.”
The new expanded section of the NICU on 3 South is 10,735 square feet and includes state-of-the-art technology. Previously, the NICU had a 61-bed capacity and was often filled to near capacity. Ideally, a NICU should operate at about 75-percent capacity so beds are available to handle sudden surges in patient volumes. The new space offers that flexibility. The NICU on 6 South is 15,733 square feet and the Infant Special Care Unit on 2 South is 12,996 square feet.
Expansion costs were funded by the community thanks to donations made through the Swedish Foundation.
“We are very thankful to all the community members that contributed to the NICU expansion. Gifts from alumni, parents and grandparents of NICU ’graduates,’ physicians, nurses and caring members of the public made the expansion and care that will be provided a reality,” said Don Theophilus, executive director of the Swedish Foundation.
Swedish is a part of the Vermont Oxford Network, a non-profit partnership consortium with an international membership that includes more than 800 NICUs and an active quality monitoring program on the delivery of neonatal intensive care services. Swedish’s NICU consistently receives high scores from this organization in statistical categories related to producing the best outcomes for patients. As a result of this record of excellence in neonatal care, other medical centers in the region have a history of regularly transferring high-risk newborns to Swedish’s Level-III NICU, which has stretched Swedish’s capacity. The expanded NICU will offer Swedish the flexibility to offer care to more of these patients.
Key Prematurity Statistics
- About every four minutes a baby is born with a birth defect in the United States.
- In 2007, about 15 percent of women of childbearing age did not have health insurance.
- The annual cost associated with preterm birth in the United States is at least $26 billion.
- In an average week in Washington state, 1,671 babies are born, 183 babies are born preterm, 108 babies are born low birth weight and eight babies die before reaching their first birthday.
Established in 1910, Swedish has grown over the last 100 years to become the largest, most comprehensive non-profit health provider in the Greater Seattle area. It is comprised of three hospital campuses – First Hill, Cherry Hill and Ballard – a freestanding emergency department and ambulatory care center in Issaquah, Swedish Visiting Nurse Services, and the Swedish Physician Division – a network of more than 40 primary-care and specialty clinics located throughout the Puget Sound area. In fall 2009, Swedish broke ground on a new medical office building and hospital in the Issaquah Highlands, as well as an emergency department and medical office building in Ballard. More recently, Swedish announced plans to open freestanding emergency department and ambulatory care center facilities in Mill Creek and Redmond. In addition to general medical and surgical care, Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialized treatment in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer care, neuroscience, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, pediatric specialties, organ transplantation and clinical research. For more information, visit www.swedish.org and www.swedish100.org.