North Shore University Hospital has completed the first phase of improvements to its neonatal intensive care unit, and its volunteer auxiliary has kicked off a $2 million fundraising campaign for the next phase, Northwell Health said.
The $2.6 million first stage of work on the 51-bed newborn unit includes new lighting, flooring, walls, soundproofing and monitors for nurseries that include 29 beds, as well as other rooms on the unit, said Will Corrigan, associate executive director of operations at North Shore.
The hospital in Manhasset also plans to add audio-video connections that will allow families to see and speak to their babies remotely, Corrigan said. That work is expected to be complete within a few months, he said.
“Typically, our parents are spending as much of their waking hours as possible with the children, but this just gives them another opportunity … to just check in,” and also let other family members see the infants, he said. For the babies, he said, it’s helpful to hear their family members’ voices.
The Auxiliary of North Shore University Hospital raised $2 million to help fund the first phase of construction, which began in early 2021.
The auxiliary has pledged another $2 million to fund the remaining work on the 9,000-square-foot unit, known as a NICU. The volunteers raised $376,000 on July 11 at the 43rd North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) Auxiliary Golf Classic at the Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury.
Lori Ballen, president of the auxiliary, said in a statement that the volunteers “are so grateful to all who came out to support the hospital’s tiniest patients and their families.”
The next phase of construction is expected to start in spring 2023, and will take about a year, Corrigan said. The work, estimated at a cost of about $2.6 million, will include the same improvements as the first phase, plus an overhauled family waiting area and new recliners next to infants’ beds to make parents more comfortable while they’re caring for the babies, Corrigan said.
About 6,900 infants are born at North Shore every year. The third-floor NICU typically treats about 30 babies at a time.
New Hyde Park-based Northwell is the state’s largest private employer, with 80,000 employees. In 2021, 29,961 babies were born in its 10 hospitals with maternity wards, making up 0.8% of the total births in the nation last year.