ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- SwedishAmerican introduced its new Level III neonatal intensive care unit on Thursday.
The hospital received level three perinatal status from the Illinois Department of Public Health to open its first NICU in hospital history. This allows the hospital to operate the highest level of neonatal care currently recognized by the state.
SwedishAmerican's neonatal intensive care unit will feature 10 beds, providing care for babies for up to 32 weeks as well as babies born with critical illness at all gestational ages.
"If we had a patient come in and delivery a baby that was under 30 weeks, we would have to transfer that baby out to a different level, and that would separate mom and baby," said Jennifer Callison, director of women and children's services at SwedishAmerican. "So now we're excited to now keep mom and babies together.
The hospital spent three years training and adding staff members in preparation.
"It's the neonatologists and pediatric sub-specialists available to evaluate and provide care for these infants,” says SwedishAmerican president and CEO, Dr. Michael Born. “As well as having nurses who have expertise and experience dealing with these critically ill patients."
The Level III NICU will be staffed 24 hours a day by a team of physicians from SwedishAmerican and the University of Wisconsin's American Family Children's Hospital.
"Our next step is taking this goal and moving it forward and provide the car and services we've been training for a long time," Callison said.