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Mike Terry, Deseret News
A maintenance worker walks through the new special-care nursery, which will open in a few weeks, at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Architecturally and aesthetically, LDS Hospital's new special-care nursery is a huge improvement from the old 36-bed, one-room nursery many parents have come to appreciate for the care their babies have received there.

If he knew nothing about the new nursery, Bryan Blanchard said the old nursery would have met his expectations and even surpassed them. "The nurses and doctors are the most caring, loving, compassionate people in the world, as far as I am concerned. Thank goodness for them," Blanchard said.

His 3-day-old baby, Brendan, is in the old nursery recovering from pneumothorax, a condition caused by a tear in the baby's fragile lung. While their baby is recovering, the parents must bond with their newborn in the same room as the rest of the babies needing extra care.

Despite the lack of privacy, Blanchard said, "As a parent, your first concern is their care."

LDS Hospital Manager Auri Wann described the old nursery's lack of privacy as "parenting under fire," where new parents are watched by other parents and visitors with no hope of private bonding time.

But, in just a few weeks, babies in similar conditions as little Brendan Blanchard will be able to spend time with their new family, in private rooms. Parents will even be able to spend the night next door to their baby in an overnight room with a private bathroom.

The special-care nursery is designed for babies who need extra care, but who are not sick enough for the ICU. It features 12 large, private rooms with windows allowing natural light to enter. Large exterior windows also allow nurses to see into the bedrooms and make visual checkups on the babies without actually having to enter each room.

LDS Hospital administrator and CEO Mikelle Moore said the new special-care nursery will incorporate the "great clinical expertise" currently available into "a better environment."

"I think what matters most is the care the baby receives, but being able to bond with the baby privately makes it a much better experience."

As the first area of the hospital to be renovated, the special-care nursery "is the beginning of a new LDS Hospital," Moore said.

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