After three years of renovations and new construction, PAH’s new Well Mother & Baby Unit officially opened on February 26. Nearly 5,000 babies are delivered each year at PAH, the most in the City of Philadelphia. With the addition of the new unit, the hospital now offers three full floors – a total of 54 rooms, 18 per floor – of all private rooms dedicated solely to new mothers and their newborns.
Shown here at the opening celebration of the new, all private room Well Mother & Baby Unit from L to R are: Jack Ludmir MD, chair, Obstetrics & Gynecology at PAH; Ralph Muller, CEO, UPHS; Marybeth Lahey, BSN, RN, Nurse Manager, Well Mother & Baby; Pamela Power, MSN APRN, BC, clinical director, Women’s Health; Ruth DiLeo, BSN, RN, assistant nurse manager, Labor & Delivery, PETU & APU; and Elizabeth Quigley, MSN, RNC-OB, nurse manager, Labor & Delivery.
The opening of the new unit is part of PAH’s $61 million long-range facility master plan. “Pennsylvania Hospital has a long history as a premier hospital for obstetrical services in Philadelphia, so we’re really excited to expand our offerings by providing private rooms to all of our maternity patients,” said R. Michael Buckley, MD, the hospital’s executive director.
PAH is the first hospital in the City of Philadelphia to offer all private maternity suites. Mothers and their babies progress to Well Mother & Baby private rooms following their labor and delivery. Each new suite offers contemporary and comfortable furniture, soft colors, subdued lighting, a flat screen television, and a spacious restroom layout with an open shower stall. New suites also include a full-sized convertible sofa sleeper to provide overnight accommodations for a family member or friend, combination safes to secure personal belongings, and charging stations for mobile devices.
The new postpartum units complement PAH's Labor & Delivery unit, which also offers private, rooms, including birthing suites for women seeking natural and low-intervention childbirth experiences. In planning for the new private rooms, feedback was sought from hospital staff, physicians, and patients through design sessions, mock-up room tours, and surveys. “Through this vital feedback, we were able to create a patient room that provides the best experience for patients, staff, and visitors alike from a safety, ergonomic, and aesthetic perspective,” Buckley said.
The new Well Mother & Baby Unit was tailored to meet the needs of all families. A Well Baby Nursery is centrally located on the unit, as well as convenient waiting areas for family and friends. There are also specially designated rooms for adoptive families and families whose babies are born via gestational carriers.
The new private maternity rooms also help support PAH’s and Penn Medicine’s commitment to the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI). The BFHI is a global effort supported by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Surgeon General, and the American Academy of Pediatrics to improve the care of pregnant women, mothers, and infants by ensuring all mothers have the information they need to make the best infant feeding decisions and by providing the help they need to meet their feeding goals.
“A private room environment will enhance the ‘rooming in’ experience and facilitate moms and babies staying together. While we will always have an in-unit nursery to provide additional support to new mothers who need it, we fully encourage ‘rooming in,’” said Jack Ludmir, MD, chair of the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at PAH and vice chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. The new rooms will support patient’s wishes for privacy and help us to provide the best total obstetric experience from delivery to discharge.”
A major step in making private rooms a reality at PAH was the opening of Penn Medicine Washington Square, the hospital’s outpatient facility at 8th and Walnut Streets, which opened in September of 2013, and houses all PAH OB/GYN provider practices. PAH opened the first of its all private room units, dedicated primarily to surgical patients, on 7 Preston in December 2013. Over the next several years, PAH plans to continue renovations and construction of additional private rooms throughout the main hospital complex and its Spruce Building.