In Orange County, one out of every seven babies is born too soon.
For every 1,000 live births, close to seven children do not survive their first year.
On Saturday, April 28, nearly 4,000 people will gather in Orlando to do something about it. By participating in the March of Dimes March for Babies, they will help raise funds and awareness of issues that contribute to the region’s high infant mortality rate.
The march comes at a time when there is good news on the horizon for everyone who cares about our most vulnerable children. When Nemours Children’s Hospital opens in Lake Nona Medical City on Oct. 22, our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) will offer the area’s sickest infants a very different level of care than what is currently available locally. Families will have a chance tour the hospital at a community day on Oct. 6.
For one thing, babies in NICU will stay in private rooms, accommodations that will allow parents and families to play an important role in the recovery process. Found rarely at other hospitals, this concept is an example of our family-centered philosophy of healing. Also of importance are floor-to-ceiling windows with a view to the outdoors in every patient room. Research shows that incorporating nature into the healing process helps speed recovery times. Our design team put this insight into practice at NCH, where even the small and vulnerable patients in NICU will benefit from natural light and views of gardens around the hospital.
Inside NCH, technology plays a key role. All patients, including newborns in the NICU, will be monitored 24 hours a day by our logistics center. This nerve center will provide a high level of visibility for medical staff. When a critical situation arises, we will be able to move fast to provide the right care. It is an advantage that is uncommon at most hospitals.
Nemours is a proud sponsor of the March of Dimes March for Babies. For many years, we have been committed to families standing vigil in the NICU. Our NICU Family Support group provides information and comfort to these families. We also play a lead role in encouraging better education and prenatal care for area mothers and in bringing the community together to support such efforts. We hope that when the new NICU opens at Nemours Children’s Hospital this October, our unique approach to care will help critically ill newborns survive their rocky start and grow up to become happy, healthy adults.
Tami Anderson is the Director of Critical Care Services at Nemours Children’s Hospital.