A decade ago, shortly after the opening in 1993 of the Scripps Encinitas Birth Pavilion, discussions began on the need for a Level II nursery in the new space. From the very beginning, hospital staff and physicians worked together in hope that one day a Level II nursery would be possible.
Today, thanks to a collaboration of hospitals, donors, physicians, staff and other supporters, the new Special Care Level II Nursery is a reality. The grand opening was May 7.
A partnership between Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas and Children’s Hospital and Health Center, the special care nursery provides specialized medical care for newborns, so that North County parents can stay within the community.
“This specialized nursery should feel like a big security blanket for North County parents,” says Bella Kaufman, director of the Scripps Encinitas Leichtag Family Birth Pavilion. “It’s comforting to know that if their babies need high-tech medical care, it’s now available close to home at Scripps Encinitas.”
The new, six-bed Special Care Level II Nursery enhances the existing 23-bed birth pavilion. The state-of-the-art nursery is staffed by board-certified Children’s neonatologists and registered nurses trained in advanced life support. The nursery cares for infants who need special care, including those with respiratory and feeding difficulties or requiring antibiotic and IV therapy. Newborns with more serious conditions will continue to be transferred to Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit on the Children’s Hospital main campus.
Besides having highly trained staff, the new high-tech Level II nursery is fully equipped with monitors, bed warmers and incubators, as well as refrigerator/freezer units for medicines and breast milk. While the new nursery will take care of special need babies requiring that extra level of care, well babies will continue to stay in labor and delivery rooms with their moms. The Birth Pavilion also contains a Scripps Encinitas staffed Level I nursery, where newborns can be taken temporarily for procedures such as hearing screenings, circumcisions, or blood draws. On occasion, the Level I nursery is also used to temporarily hold a fussy baby so that a tired mom might get a little sleep.
In addition to the new Special Care Nursery, the entire Birth Pavilion also received a facelift. The newly renovated pavilion is themed “A Day at the Beach.” Expectant moms are relaxed by new floors that look like textured sand, water and waves. Beach themed artwork lines the walls as they approach the nurses’ station for check-in.
“The theme seemed natural,” says Kaufman. “Because of the calming feeling of the beach and the hospital location, it just clicked with all the staff, midwives and physicians. Everyone loves it.”
The theme is carried throughout the pavilion and into the new Special Care Nursery. A different colored wooden beach cabana roof hangs over each one of the six tiny beds.
“In my 20 years in maternal health, I have seen many birthing centers and special care nurseries,” says Kaufman. "If I do say so myself, I have never seen one as creatively designed and executed as ours.
“It’s something we all are very proud of and we know the community will be, too.”