MU Children's Hospital unveils renovated NICU

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COLUMBIA - Mid-Missouri's tiniest and most fragile babies now have a bigger and improved home. 

The MU Children's Hospital will host the grand opening of its newly renovated Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) on Monday.

The hospital completed a $3.1 million renovation of the NICU this month. The expansion adds 10 additional beds to the unit, bringing it to total of 48.

The NICU now includes:

  • 20 single-patient rooms.
  • Two breast-feeding areas where new mothers can privately feed their babies.
  • A family-infant room where families can stay overnight with their newborns to simulate how it might be once the newborn is at home and away from constant medical care.
  • Portable digital X-ray machine.
  • A new blood gas laboratory

The MU Children's Hospital NICU team cares for more than 500 premature and critically ill infants each year.

"The much-needed expansion will allow us to offer the outstanding care from our specialists to more children and families from rural and mid-Missouri," said Keri Simon, executive director of MU Women's and Children's Hospital. "This new space creates a more patient-and-family-centered environment, which enables our team to deliver the best care and experience possible."

Each of the single patient rooms is equipped with "smart room" technology. A monitor near the child displays a 24-hour record of the baby's vital signs, giving physicians and nurses immediate access to important information.

"Before, all of this information was in a paper chart, but now we can see how the child is doing from the moment we walk into the room," said John Pardalos, M.D., medical director of the Division of Neonatology. "This latest technology is more efficient and designed with the baby and family in mind. It also gives us the option to add even more automated capabilities in the future."

Construction and new equipment in the NICU was funded through a number of donations, including a $1 million pledge from MizzouThon, the largest student-run philanthropy at the University of Missouri. The NICU has been renamed the MizzouThon Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in recognition of the group's pledge.

More than 22,000 babies have received care in the unit since it was built in 1971. 

Residents are encouraged to come to the ribbon cutting ceremony which starts at noon, followed by a tour of the facility. 

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