Sacred Heart Hospital Creating Area’s First Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit


Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast, part of Ascension, one of the nation’s leading nonprofit and Catholic health systems, is creating the county’s first Level II neonatal intensive care unit. The 10-bed NICU is scheduled to open in January 2020.

Level II NICUs are for infants born prematurely at 32 weeks or later who weigh more than 3.3 pounds. They often care for babies who have some health problems but are expected to improve quickly and are not expected to need urgent specialty care. The comprehensive group of caregivers will include board-certified neonatologists (pediatricians with specialized training in the care of critically-ill infants), neonatal nurses, immunologists and nutritionists along with a team of specialized nurses, support staff and volunteers.
“Adding this next level of care for babies at the Family Birth Place means parents can rest assured that when they have their babies at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast, they’ll have immediate access to high-quality, compassionate care,” said Roger Hall, president of Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast. “The NICU is the hospital’s seventh major expansion in our efforts to increase access to care in our community. We are forever grateful for the continued support.”

The hospital is the only one in the area with a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the highest possible rating. It is also the only one to hold the “baby-friendly” designation from the World Health Organization and UNICEF, recognizing its commitment to the highest level of breastfeeding support and education.
Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast’s pediatric services are backed by The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart in Pensacola, Northwest Florida’s only children’s hospital. It provides a Level III NICU for the most critically ill and premature newborns. Should a baby need surgery or have needs beyond what can be managed at the Emerald Coast’s Level II NICU, a mobile neonatal critical care transport ambulance stationed in Miramar Beach will provide rapid transfer to the children’s hospital.

The NICU is the last phase of a $30 million hospital expansion which added 13 new rooms to the emergency room, 12 additional inpatient rooms and 12 new post-partum suites to the Family Birth Place. Construction on the NICU is complete and a hiring process is under way. The hospital will host a grand opening celebration later in the year.
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