The University of Missouri Children’s Hospital celebrated the opening of a new waiting area for its newborn intensive care unit. Hospital officials said accommodating families for longer periods and overnight stays is an important aspect of neonatal intensive care units.
The new waiting room, located right next to the NICU, includes a living room, kitchen, two flat screen TVs and shower facilities.
On Tuesday evening, about 50 family members, supporters, and health care professionals got a preview of the new waiting area.
Sylvie Carpentier helped raise money for the project through her nonprofit corporation Pascale’s Pals. She said for families of children in intensive care, there’s a lot of waiting at a stressful time.
“There were really no comfortable place for the parents of the preemies that can be here for days, weeks, or months," Carpentier said. "And, we wanted to ease their burden by giving them a nice place where they can stay while their babies are still under treatment.”
Carpentier knows firsthand why a comfortable area equipped with essentials is necessary. Her daughter Pascale got sick and had to stay in the hospital at a young age.
“It started when Pascale was a year old she had leukemia, and then I gathered a group of friends to help out," Carpentier said. "Because at the time we needed entertainment for the children in each of the rooms. There was no TV or VCR.”
John Pardalos, MU Children’s Hospital neonatologist, said an improved waiting area is necessary for families of young children receiving care.
“This sometimes becomes their second home, and they’re here for days and days, especially acutely when the baby might not be doing so well," Pardalos said. "They don’t really want to leave, so having a place that they can shower up and get a nice meal — that way they don’t feel like they are torn between leaving and taking care of themselves.”
The new patient waiting area for the University Hospital newborn intensive care unit is now open for use by families.
The improvements to the area cost about $120,000.