Utah Valley Regional Medical Center expands NICU, adds new technology

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 27 2013 12:55 p.m. MST

Utah Valley Regional Medical Center now has more room to care for mothers and their premature babies.

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PROVO — Utah Valley Regional Medical Center now has more room to care for mothers and their premature babies.

The hospital can now provide specialized care for 55 premature babies, an increase from the 39 patients it could handle previously.

Besides the expanded neonatal intensive care unit, the hospital added bedside cameras in the NICU to help parents feel closer to their babies, even when they're far away from the hospital.

Shelley Williams said she couldn't be happier for the new cameras.

"Eloise, she was born in August and without a complete esophagus," Williams said. "They will be able to fix it, but she has to grow for several months and she's a cute baby."

Jerold Wilcox is the nurse manager of the unit and puts a focus on parents' involvement in their baby's care, and parents get more time alone with their baby as vital signs are observed by nurses separate from the family.

"Our NICU has a theme here, it's called, ‘NICU is home,’" Wilcox said. "We have central monitors so we can monitor any baby we want from several different key locations throughout the NICU.”

The NICU will also have a camera at each baby's bedside allowing parents to check on their little ones, anytime of the day or night.

"Parents can look on smartphones or iPads or computers. They can look at their baby anytime they want to," said Dr. Stephen Minton, medical director of newborn services. "They can actually put an iPad in the bed and go to sleep with the baby's face right next to theirs live so they can see what's taking place."

The upgrades add comfort for parents when they are away from their baby. When they can be at the hospital, doctors and nurses keep them involved in much of their baby's care — from changing diapers to taking their baby's temperature.

"Our goal is to include parents in care. They are going to be the caretakers of babies for the rest of their childhood, and so we believe that they should be involved in here," Wilcox said.

There are also nine new antepartum rooms to care for mothers with high-risk pregnancies or those who are experiencing complications prior to their due dates. The rooms are also fully capable of serving as preterm delivery rooms if necessary.

“We want to help our moms have a pregnancy that is as safe as possible, with a healthy baby at the end,” said Judy Hunter, registered nurse and manager of labor and delivery.

Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc

Email: spenrod@deseretnews.com

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