Local media and community members got a sneak peek inside the newest addition to St. Luke’s University Health Network’s Anderson Campus off Rt. 33 in Bethlehem Township Friday.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception were held for the 180,000 square-foot Women & Babies Pavilion, which doubles the size of the Anderson Campus with its opening.
After more than 18 months of construction, Anderson Campus President Ed Nawrocki said the first neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) patient will arrive Friday and the first delivery at the Women & Babies Pavilion is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 18.
Future births at the Anderson Campus will build upon and strengthen a legacy of caring for new life which Nawrocki said is symbolized by the fact that more than half of the Lehigh Valley’s nearly 800,000 current residents were born in a St. Luke’s hospital.
The four-story Women & Babies Pavilion is the third St. Luke’s birthing center in the Lehigh Valley, and joins the ranks of labor and delivery units at St. Luke’s hospitals in Bethlehem and Allentown.
A $75 million, state-of-the-art facility which includes nine labor and delivery rooms, the building also houses a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with 26 private and semi-private rooms, a 32-room postpartum unit and a 16-bassinet nursery.
The Women & Babies Pavilion also goes above and beyond the physical requirements of a modern labor and delivery unit by featuring family-friendly spaces designed for comfort, convenience and to help nurture the bond between new moms, babies and families.
Hospital officials said the design is reflective of St. Luke’s Baby & Me Philosophy, which fosters the postnatal bond while providing families with high quality, personalized care.
St. Luke’s adherence to the Baby & Me Philosophy means a commitment to the use of evidence-based practices such as skin-to-skin contact between parents and their newborns and “rooming in,” said Israel Zighelboim, MD, FACOG, FACS, who chairs the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at St. Luke’s University Health Network.
“St. Luke’s OB/GYNs and staff understand that pregnancy is a very special time for mothers and the entire family, so from start to finish, the Women & Babies Pavilion was designed with their entire experience in mind,” he said. “The concept is to incorporate not just the new baby, but the new family that is ‘born’ when a baby arrives.”
With spacious private rooms, spa-like amenities such as rain showerheads and decor inspired by nature, Nawrocki said so far “the patient feedback is that it feels like a hotel and they won’t want to leave.”
St. Luke’s President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson said that while comfort and modern convenience are clearly important, it is ultimately the staff who make the health network what it is.
“I always say the secret sauce is the people who work here,” he told an audience of several hundred people, adding “all of you in our community can help us make this better than it is today.”
The new pavilion will also be home to education space–including a simulation center and auditorium–for multiple graduate medical education programs at Anderson Campus.
That expansion will nearly double the number of residents and fellows trained at St. Luke’s to more than 430, making it the largest program in the Lehigh Valley.
“We not only need superb facilities for our patients, but we also need superb facilities for physicians and clinicians,” said Nawrocki, who also noted that the current nationwide physician shortage is only expected to grow in the years to come.
With existing educational programs throughout its Network, St. Luke’s has announced that it plans to add 160 new residents over a five-year period in specialties like neurology, psychiatry, dermatology, endocrinology, emergency medicine, otolaryngology (ENT), internal medicine and family medicine.
“This expansion at the Anderson Campus not only underscores St. Luke’s commitment to mothers, babies and families, but also to training the next generation of health care providers to care for them,” said J.P. Orlando, Ed.D, St. Luke’s Chief Graduate Medical Education Officer. “We look forward to expanding our offerings to Anderson Campus, which will allow us to train even more future physicians, particularly in high-demand specialties like psychiatry and dermatology.”
The Anderson Campus, which opened nearly a decade ago, is one of 11 hospitals throughout eastern Pennsylvania that are part of St. Luke’s University Health Network.