39 premature babies make the biggest trek of their young lives

39 premature babies make the biggest trek of their young lives

Esaias was the first NICU baby moved into the new unit, starting at 8:15 a.m.


They weren’t supposed to be born yet, and many of them are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, but 39 tiny babies took an amazing journey today – just a few days before what will certainly be a memorable Mother’s Day for their families.

The infants were moved to the new 2-story Women’s Board of Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the $180 million Kay Jewelers Pavilion that opened today at Akron Children’s Hospital.

Parents and medical staff were on hand to ensure a smooth move and to watch over the precious cargo. Amazingly, it only takes 8 hours to move all 39 babies to their new temporary homes.

Akron Children’s new NICU is a big change from the infants’ previous home. Instead of one room accommodating several babies, all of the neonates will have their own private room, which has been shown to improve healing and get the babies home sooner.

Each of the 75 rooms also includes a private bathroom, TV, couch and comfy gliding chair – the perfect place for new moms to snuggle their babies on Mother’s Day.

"I'm looking forward to getting into our new room today," said Sarah Kusznir, whose son, Nicolas, has been in the NICU since he was born 3 weeks ago. "We have 4 other children so it would be nice to have private space. It's still difficult for me to move around so being able to stay with him and sleep in the same room as him will make a big difference."

39 premature babies make the biggest trek of their young lives

Team gets preemie tucked into the "treehouse" themed NICU

Offering the highest level of neonatal care, the hospital has the ability to increase the new 75-bed NICU to 100 beds. In the past year, Akron Children’s Hospital has had more than 570 NICU admissions to its downtown Akron campus. The facility also has 2 delivery rooms to accommodate mothers with high-risk deliveries.

“We know from caring for families at our NICU, and research, that babies tend to improve faster in individual rooms,” said Christine Young, director of nursing, neonatal services. “It’s just so much easier for families to all be in one room with their own space – it’s better for bonding, nursing, and even in helping families have an understanding of what it will be like to care for their baby once they’re out of the hospital. Our goal is for these babies to become strong and healthy and to go home with their families.”

Additional information about the move

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