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CARE Center
By Emily King

Expecting mothers and family in the Pittsburgh area, particularly those living in the southern region, have a new option for a comfortable and soothing birth experience. Washington Health System has announced the completion of Phase 1 of its new CARE Center for Family Birth and Women’s Health. This completes the postpartum and recovery area, with the labor and delivery unit to be completed mid-September.

The first phase of construction included the completion of a comfortable family lounge, a new lobby and thirteen spacious postpartum rooms. The 22,000-square-foot space fills the same area of the hospital, but the layout of the space has been adapted to offer a more aesthetically pleasing and functional department.

For a year and a half, WHS spoke with community members and new parents about what would make their hospital stay a more positive experience. They heard from both WHS patients as well as patients from other hospitals in the area. Staff and physicians also provided input on what changes would make providing an expert level of care possible. The feedback was the driving force of the plan for the new unit.

“We decided that if we were going to make this investment in our hospital and our community, we wanted to get it right,” says Leslie Gostic, MSN, RNC-MNN, CBC, Nurse Manager of the CARE Center for Family Birth and Women’s Health. “Who better to listen to than patients, our community members and staff?”

The $7 million project strives to make the experience of welcoming a new baby more pleasant for both the mother and her family. The revamped suites allow new moms to recover in a calm and comforting environment in contrast to the standard hospital rooms of the past.

The rooms themselves are larger, with a family nook for meals and other activities, a comfortable couch bed, artwork and a more modern bathroom. Parents and family members will have access to complimentary snacks and drinks. The rooms are even equipped with a Bluetooth speaker system that will allow women to listen to a custom playlist. The addition of retractable curtains creates a space for breastfeeding mothers to have privacy, if they prefer, without needing to ask guests to step out of the room. The space will allow women to feel more at home, rather than the typical hospital environment.

Besides the esthetic improvements, patients will still receive excellent care from the medical staff plus every delivery is attended by a Neonatal Resuscitation team member. The new nursery now includes a level 2 special care nursery that will allow staff and physicians to provide the best care possible to babies that may need some additional medical attention.

The second phase of construction is underway and is expected to take several months to complete. This part of the project will see the completion of drastically improved labor and delivery rooms, a physician on call area, and a c-section room. In the meantime, care is being taken so that patients will not notice or be distracted by the construction project.

To follow the construction process and to take on online virtual tour of the new recovery unit visit whs.org/updates

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