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New Neonatal Intensive Care Unit coming to RGH

Nov 7, 2017

A new neonatal intensive care unit is part of the Sands-Constellation Center for Critical Care expansion project at Rochester General Hospital.

It comes at a time when preterm births rose in the United States in 2016, after nearly a decade of decline, according to a new March of Dimes report.

Preterm birth is the largest contributor to infant death in the country.

Dr. Nirupama Laroia is medical director of the special care nursery at RGH.

Rendering of what one of the NICU rooms will look like
Credit rochesterregional.org

She says they will be able to take smaller and sicker babies and care for them for longer periods, and be able to provide intensive care services.

Currently, babies that need intensive care other than short term, have to be transferred to the Children's Hospital at Strong.

Dr. Laroia says while they won't be adding beds, they will be adding intensive care services

"The classic feature that the building is going to have is the ability for parents to stay in the room with the baby all the time.  They're going to be part and parcel of the care that we provide to babies, so parents will be participating in the nursing care," she said.

Dr. Laroia adds the presence of parents helping in the care of even very sick babies goes a long way for the family's and the baby's well-being.

She says this allows families to be whole again.

"At Rochester General we are a baby-friendly hospital, which basically means that we encourage breast feeding for all of our babies, and this is a goal that we can accomplish much, much better in the single patient rooms," she said.

The Rochester General Hospital Association, also known as the Twigs, pledged $2.5 million dollars for the project.

It's expected the new neonatal intensive care unit will be operating by the end of 2020.