State Sen. Michael E. Hastings D-Frankfort, recently toured the future Amy, Matthew and Jay Vana Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Silver Cross.
Hastings secured $600,000 in funding to help build and operate the future level 3 NICU, according to a news release by the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus.
“Welcoming a newborn child that is either born prematurely or with a serious health condition can be an extremely stressful and difficult experience,” Hastings said in the release. “This new NICU will give loved ones the option to stay close to home during this critical stage.”
Silver Cross’ future level 3 NICU, the first of its kind for Will County, will care for babies who are born before 30 weeks’ gestational age or babies who are born with “birth defects, infections, breathing difficulties or other high-risk conditions,” whether they are born at Silver Cross or other nearby hospitals, according to the Silver Cross website.
The future NICU also will help address the infant mortality rate in the areas Silver Cross serves. According to the 2020 March of Dimes Report Card, 11.1% of babies in Will County are born premature, which is high compared with the rest of the U.S. Moreover, 58% of patients in Silver Cross’ total service area receive high-risk neonatal care elsewhere.
In 2021 there were 3,100 babies born at Silver Cross, which is the most among Will County hospitals, according to the release.
“These vital taxpayer dollars will help Silver Cross serve and give special care for our tiniest patients,” Hastings said in the release. “For years, these young infants have had to travel to an NICU elsewhere. We can only imagine the stress and fear this creates for parents during an already trying time.”
The future NICU will feature 24 private, single-family rooms along with a centralized nurses station with high-tech monitoring plus workstations outside patient rooms, according to the Silver Cross website.
Other features include a suite with adjoining rooms for twins or multiple births, a consultation room where parents can meet privately with specialists, family lounge, family transition room and web cameras “for families to stay connected to babies when they can’t be at the hospital,” the Silver Cross website said.