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Rogue Valley Medical Center Begins $6 Million NICU Expansion
The $6 million expansion of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Rogue Valley Medical Center began in earnest when the first sledgehammer broke through the wall at a special ceremony Wednesday, December 1.
"We are so excited for our tiniest patients and their moms and dads," said Michele Strickland, clinical manager, NICU. "We are underway to helping more families stay close to home and in a private room for their baby."
The NICU cares for premature babies in a nine-county area from Lakeview, Oregon to Roseburg in the north and Crescent City, California to the south. Since 2004, the average daily number of babies in the NICU has gone from just over 15 to 19. The number is often over 20. The babies have greater medical needs and stay longer, NICU doctors say. With the NICU so often full, babies must go to other hospitals outside the area.
The new NICU expansion will increase patient capacity from 20 to over 32 babies. It will be family-friendly with private rooms and additional space where family members and the mother can stay overnight with their newborns. Construction will follow environmentally safe standards and the new unit will be the first NICU in Oregon to be Leadership in Engineering and Environmental Design (LEED) certified.
The project will be in two stages. The first stage, which begins December 1, is a complete makeover of an area of the second floor of the hospital. It will become a 13-room unit with 10 single rooms and 3 double occupancy rooms for twins. Second, the existing NICU on the first floor will transform into a 16-bed unit to serve babies with the greatest medical needs.
The $6 million project is in part made possible by the financial support of the community. The Asante Foundation is working to raise $2 million for the project.
• Increased capacity from 20 to 32 babies.
• 9,000 square feet added to the existing 6,000 square foot unit.
• A 16-bed NICU area on the second floor.
• Existing NICU on the first floor will be renovated for 16 beds.
• Mostly all private rooms.
• Project estimated at $6 million.
• The RVMC NICU is a level III-B unit, which means it can care for infants as early as 24 weeks and as little as 1 pound 2 ounces.
• NICU serves the region from Lakeview, Oregon to Crescent City, California, and as far north as Roseburg.
• NICU opened in 1974
• NICU cares for over 300 babies every year with over 5,500 patient days each year.
• Average census in the NICU is 19 and often have to send babies to other hospitals out of the area.
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Asante Health System is a non-profit organization providing advanced medical care to over 550,000 people in Southern Oregon and Northern California. It includes Rogue Valley Medical Center in Medford and Three Rivers Community Hospital in Grants Pass.