DEC. 20, 2012 - Premature babies and their mothers in Chicago’s south suburbs now have access to even more advanced care for their newborns close to home at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill. The hospital has been designated Level II with Extended Neonatal Capabilities Perinatal facility by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
This designation means that the highly skilled physicians and nurses at the hospital’s Family Birth Center have the expertise and technology to provide more complex care to high risk mothers and their babies, born as early as 10 weeks premature.
Prior to Advocate South Suburban Hospital’s Level II E special care nursery designation, many area premature newborns had to be transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn or the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago. Traveling long distances to obtain these services is especially burdensome during the critical post-partum period and places addition strain on these vulnerable families.
Recent studies have shown that a family presence in the hospital helps children heal faster and cope better. Staying close by allows parents to better communicate with their child’s medical team and improves the ability to follow vital medical treatment plans.
“Mothers and premature babies deserve access to high quality services close to home, where studies show that they heal better when surrounded by family,” said Rich Heim, president of Advocate South Suburban Hospital. “Now, families in our area can count on advanced, compassionate care at a location that helps ensure they can be together, and heal together.”
To facilitate the care for younger, even more vulnerable patients, Advocate South Suburban Hospital purchased new state-of-the-art equipment such as ventilators, radiant warmers, phototherapy units, new incubators, infusion pumps and respiratory monitors.
The Illinois Health department of Public Health distinguishes between three levels of Perinatal Care: level 1 or general care, level 2 or intermediate care, level 2 with extended capabilities and level 3 or intensive care. In order to determine which level of care a Perinatal Center falls under, facilities are evaluated under strict criteria which include: access to equipment and facilities, level of staff training, availability of specialists, and the complexity of patients served.
Preterm, or premature, babies face a greater risk of serious health problems because they weigh less, have less developed organs, and generally are at greater risk for health-related complications. These newborns typically experience conditions or anomalies such as infection or breathing problems that require evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and/or surgery and require time in a special unit such as the one offered at Advocate South Suburban Hospital.