Baptist Health Paducah receives Level III NICU approval
The John and Loree Eckstein NICU at Baptist Health Paducah has received Level III approval from the state, allowing more fragile babies to now receive care closer to home. Baptist Health Paducah's neonatal intensive care unit is west Kentucky's only Level III NICU.
The John and Loree Eckstein NICU at Baptist Health Paducah has received Level III approval from the state, allowing more fragile babies to now receive care closer to home. Baptist Health Paducah’s neonatal intensive care unit is west Kentucky’s only Level III NICU.
A Level III NICU is capable of caring for very small or very sick newborn babies. Level III facilities have a wide variety of specialized staff on site, including neonatologists, neonatal nurse practitioners, neonatal nurses, respiratory therapists, physical, speech and occupational therapists, social services and pastoral care, all who specialize in high-risk neonatal care.
Baptist Health Paducah initiated Kentucky’s Certificate of Need (CON) process earlier this year to convert six of its NICU Level II beds to Level III.
“We designed our NICU to be capable of caring for Level III NICU babies,” said Lisa Parnell, RN, PhD, director of Mother Baby Care at Baptist Health Paducah. “From the design of a quiet atmosphere to accommodations for parents to stay with their children to having all the services in place, we have the capability and technology to care for these premature infants.”
Earlier this year, Baptist Health Paducah introduced a neonatal transport service. The neonatal transport team can now bring infants from outside hospitals to our state-of-the-art Level III NICU.
Edward O’Neill, MD, University of Louisville-affiliated neonatologist serving the Paducah NICU, said the Level III status and the transport service both go a long way in helping local families when they need it the most.
“Our new space and services are designed to be more convenient and comfortable for families during a critical time in their new baby’s life,” Dr. O’Neill said. “Without our NICU, families would have to drive to cities several hours away and miss work during an already stressful time in their lives.”
The NICU started in 2011 in a section of the nursery on the hospital’s second floor, but almost tripled in size when it moved into a new 8,000-square-foot wing on the second floor of Medical Park 2 in early 2017. The expansion was fully funded by donor support to the Baptist Health Foundation Paducah “Celebrating Miracles, Transforming Lives” capital campaign.
“These advancements would not have happened without the generosity of our community,” said Chris Roty, hospital president. “This is just one more way donors have enabled us to keep more families in our community for care.”