Dignity Health | hello Healthy | Summer 2019

HelloHealthy | Summer 2019 9 St. Joseph’s NICU: Providing exceptional care for your little one Newborn babies are much more complicated than simply existing as tiny versions of adults. So, when they need special attention due to birth complications or being born premature, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St. Joseph’s Medical Center is here to serve as their temporary home. “Babies come with a different set of mechanics and body physiology that’s not known anywhere in the field of medicine besides neonatology,” says Philip Cheng, MD, a neonatologist and Chair of Pediatrics at Dignity Health. St. Joseph’s NICU is a 30-bed Level III facility that provides premature infants and term infants needing special care the proper environment to continue the growth processes of critical organs – most commonly the lungs. Additional concerns include cardiac conditions, such as abnormally structured hearts that may require surgery in the future, or gastrointestinal issues. State-of-the-art equipment allows NICU doctors at St. Joseph’s to be successful in their efforts. And for babies who need extra help with breathing, ventilation methods include nasal CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) and nearly adjusted ventilatory assist (NAVA). With NAVA, a special catheter detects the electrical activity of the muscles of the diaphragm. The signals captured are then synchronized with the breathing machine. Studies have shown that this mode of ventilation helps infants breathe easier, makes them more comfortable, and ultimately provides better outcomes. If a newborn has been in the NICU for a lengthy period of time, parents may experience some uncertainty and anxiety when it’s time for the baby to go home. To help with the transition from the hospital to the home, St. Joseph’s offers parents a chance to stay one night in the hospital, out of the NICU, with nursing care on standby. This simulates what it would be like at home with the baby – with no monitors – but also gives parents peace of mind that experts are in immediate proximity. “From the feedback I’ve gathered from parents, they love this program,” assures Dr. Cheng. “And any NICU baby qualifies for this program, whether term or premature. If parents request a rooming-in session before they go home, just to gain more confidence and decrease anxiety, we definitely offer it to them.” Tune in To listen to an interview with Dr. Philip Cheng, a neonatologist and Chair of Pediatrics at Dignity Health, follow this link: radiomd.com/dignity/item/39230 . and a lactation consultant also is available Monday through Friday. Two operating rooms specifically for C-sections. Moms who have a cesarean section can stay in the birth center and keep the same nurse who helped them through labor. Free classes. Prenatal and parenting classes are offered online through the Newborn Channel at newbornchannelnow.com (enter password 03390 ). Mother Baby Breast Connection classes are held at the birth center. Get in touch To arrange a tour of the Family Birth Center or to learn more about classes, call 209.461.5213 . Philip Cheng, MD