Beginning in January, the neonatal intensive care unit at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital will undergo an expansion to grow the number of beds that can accommodate the hospital’s tiniest, most vulnerable patients. The adjacent NICU II and NICU III units will transform from a combined 12,632 square feet to a total of 20,844 square feet. There will be 16 new care pods — adding eight level III beds (increasing from 22 to 30) and eight level II beds (increasing from 30 to 38) — as well as four private rooms that accommodate family members. Additionally, there will be a dedicated neonatal neuro intensive care unit section to monitor and care for infants with brain injury. The waiting area will include a sibling play area. The unit will also have dedicated breastfeeding areas, and a warm and comforting design with a nature theme in harmony with the rest of the children’s hospital.
“It is imperative that we increase our capacity to serve families,” said David Burchfield, M.D., UF College of Medicine division of neonatology chief. “This expansion allows us to expand our high level of services to more deserving families.”— Peveeta Persaud