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Full Family Birth Center to open after $9.2 million renovation

Full Family Birth Center to open after $9.2 million renovation

With renovations now complete, the Upstate Family Birth Center at the Community Campus will begin housing mothers and babies throughout the entire 21-bed unit starting in January.

Construction on the $9.2 million project began in November 2016 and final touches to the 29,000-square-foot space, including furniture, are being made now. The post-partum section of the completed floor is unrecognizable when compared to the pre-renovation space, thanks to a new floorplan, expanded rooms, new family lounge spaces, a new six-bed nursery, nursing upgrades and technology improvements. 

The project was split into two stages to allow the Community Campus to continue to care for moms and babies during the long-term project. The first phase was completed in the fall of 2017 and involved renovating 12 patient rooms in 2 east, a nursing station and the hallways on half of the post-partum unit. Work recently wrapped up on phase two of the project, which included the remaining patient rooms, an additional nurses’ station, the lactation room and the six-bed nursery.

The original post-partum floor had not been renovated or updated since long before Upstate acquired Community General Hospital in 2011, which is why Upstate was eager to give the birth center a modern upgrade. 

People involved in the project are especially proud of the patient rooms, which now have a “spa-like” and “hotel” feel to them. After leaving recovery after the birth of her child, mom and baby will go to one of these brand-new, private, post-partum couplet rooms. In addition to a bed for mom and bassinet for baby, all of the 21 post-partum rooms feature gliders and sleeper sofas with additional room for visitors. Every room has its own bathroom with a walk-in shower and bench, in-room shelving, counter and closet space, WiFi access and charging stations, a flat-screen TV and an additional sink that is specially shaped to bathe a newborn.

The rooms were designed to allow for visitors and for someone to stay overnight in the room with mom and baby. Each room also has a computer and supply cart for the nursing staff.

“This place is amazing,” said Family Birth Center interim nurse manager Barbara Bennett, RN, BSN. “The people who are here aren’t sick. They want to go someplace where they are happy; they want their families here. 

“You’re not sharing a room with anybody. You have privacy and we try not to interfere. You call us if you need us but you won’t find any more of a hotel-like atmosphere than what we have here at Upstate.”

Other new additions to the renovated Family Birth Center include a dedicated lactation room for moms to breastfeed and work one-on-one with lactation consultants. The floor also now features a 2,585-square-foot, six-bed nursery that includes warmers and incubators with top technology to monitor the baby’s breathing and heart rate. As part of the nursery, there is also an isolation room if the baby needs to be kept separate from the others. Nearby, there is an additional private room if mom has been discharged but baby has to stay in the hospital, allowing the family to stay together overnight.

“The completed Upstate Family Birth Center is an incredible facility and resource for mothers, babies and families in Central New York,” said Upstate Community Campus Chief Operating Officer Nancy Daoust, LNHA, FACHE. “The patient rooms are absolutely beautiful. The nursery is a much-needed addition and the technology and nursing upgrades will help our staff continue to offer the highest level of care for newborns and mothers here at Upstate.

The floor also features a spacious family lounge area with a white stone decorative fireplace, kitchen area and vending machines. The unit is painted in muted tones of cream, yellow and green with wood, brushed silver and glass accents. The walls are lined with large-scale metal panel photographs of babies, toddlers and new parents by local photographer Marnie Carter.

The sparkling new space makes coming to work all the more enjoyable, said labor and delivery nurse Marie Tillie, LPN.

“It’s nice to come to work in a nice, fresh unit,” Tillie said. “It makes your whole spirit feel good. I just really love the unit. What a nice place to have a baby.”

The project was made possible in part by a $1 million “Brighter Beginnings” fundraising campaign by the Upstate Foundation.

"This project would not have been possible without the support of so many Upstate supporters, from within the hospital and from the community," said Development Director Julie Galler Simms. "The money that our $1 million Brighter Beginnings campaign raised has gone to purchase furniture, technology and other comfort items for new moms and babies to make their experience here better. It’s so nice to see these beautiful new facilities match the excellent care we have always provided."

The entire space was designed with moms, babies and the staff who care for them in mind.  

“We should all be very proud of the Family Birth Center,” Daoust said, “and I'm confident expectant mothers and their families will have a fulfilling, healthy and enjoyable experience here.”

Caption: Upstate University Hospital staff cut the ribbon to officially open the renovated Family Birth Center at Community Campus. They are from left: Medical Director Matthew Glidden, MD; Associate Administrator for Facilities and Support Services Kenneth Redmore; Director of Nursing Sharon Klaiber; Family Birth Center Interim Nurse Manager Barbara Bennett; Chief Administrative Officer Nancy Daoust; Howard Weinstein, MD; and James Pergolizzi, MD.