University of Kentucky unveils upgraded NICU including 'circadian rhythm lighting' in expansion

Kentucky Children's Hospital officially opened a new neonatal intensive care unit and lobby this week at the University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital.

The new 68,000-square-foot NICU includes 70 beds and allows the hospital's pediatric ICU to expand into the newly vacated space that was the NICU's former home, officials said in an announcement. The new unit is equipped with "circadian rhythm lighting" that mimics natural light cycles, which helps in the development of babies on the units, and rooms designed to ease the transition for parents at discharge, they said. 

"At-risk newborns and babies born early require specialized treatment," Scottie B. Day, M.D., physician-in-chief of KCH, said in a statement. "There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to intensive care." 

It's one of multiple construction projects at hospitals around the country to expand and enhance their facilities. 

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The University of Chicago is seeking to upgrade its capabilities, winning approval from the Illinois Department of Public Health for its plans to operate a new Level 1 trauma center on Chicago's South Side, UChicago Medicine announced recently. The new trauma center is set to open May 1. That part of the city has not been home to a Level 1 designated trauma center for nearly 30 years, according to the announcement. 

"This is a momentous occasion for our institution and for the South Side, as we expand critical services to our neighbors," Selwyn Rogers, Jr., M.D., director of the trauma center, said in a statement. 

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Meanwhile, the University of California San Francisco Health is also planning to open a new ambulatory care facility. The system will partner with John Muir Health to open their first joint outpatient center, which will focus on primary and specialty care, according to an announcement. Set to open its doors in June, the center will also include an urgent care clinic. 

Other hospitals in more preliminary stages with planned construction projects include:

  • Bozeman Health, which announced plans last week for a $75.5 million expansion that will begin this year and is projected to be completed in 2020. Montana-based Bozeman will build a new three-story patient care tower at Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital and create a new intensive care unit and renovated NICU. Bozeman is launching a $15 million philanthropic campaign in tandem to help fund the construction and other initiatives, according to the announcement. "We are committed to transforming care to ensure each person has access to the best possible care close to home," said Bozeman President and CEO John Hill. 

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  • Memorial Hospital in Chester, Illinois, which will begin its five-year renovation plan this month that includes the move of multiple patient care departments from the basement to the main floor of the building including specialty clinics and lab services, the hospital said in an announcement. Initial preparation for the renovation begins April 23 with plans to install a new canopy and main entrance slated to begin in earnest this summer. In 2019, the hospital will begin renovation on its new inpatient Med-Surg and Intensive Care Unit with private rooms.
  • Maine Medical Center, whose planned $512 million construction project was just approved by the Portland, Maine, Planning Board, the Bangor Daily Herald reported. The approval will allow the hospital to begin obtaining permits and potentially break ground on the project as early as May. The renovations include adding more parking spaces and creating 64 new rooms for cancer patients, according to the article.