Englewood Hospital and Medical Center’s Family Birth Place — Delivering with 5-star Comfort and Care

By: Michael Ferguson
Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The newly renovated Family Birth Place gives expectant mothers the option to deliver their babies at a facility featuring state-of-the-art technology carefully incorporated into a luxurious environment.

“The goal of our renovation was to create a facility where patients feel comfortable,” says Arthur Gross, MD, FACOG, OB/GYN at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center. “Instead of feeling immersed in an impersonal, sterile medical environment, our patients experience a more natural process complemented by the availability of leading-edge technology. We designed the new facility to feature the highest standards of medical care in a setting that replicates the privacy and comfort of home.”

The aesthetic and technological modernization of the facility significantly enhances the patients’ experience. The Family Birth Place — comprising the labor and delivery unit, the neonatal intensive care unit, and the postpartum unit — was fully completed in December 2014. The renovations sought to match the Family Birth Place’s aesthetics with the level of medical care that has long been provided at the hospital, according to Faith Frieden, MD, Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center.

“Englewood Hospital and Medical Center has always provided top-notch levels of obstetric and neonatal care, and now our facility complements that. The renovation allows patients more comfort and an enhanced birthing experience.”
— Elizabeth B. Carlin, MD, Chief of Pediatrics and Newborn Medicine at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, and Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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Faith Frieden, MD, Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, performs an ultrasound on a patient.

“Some families look for teaching hospitals with sophisticated technology, and some look for a place that makes them comfortable,” Dr. Frieden says. “Englewood Hospital offers the best of both — the highest quality medical care in a place where families can have a beautiful, comfortable delivery experience.”

The facility’s eight spacious private labor and delivery rooms feature flat-screen TVs, music systems, Wi-Fi, whirlpool baths, private bathrooms, lounging chairs and sleeper sofas — appointments more associated with high-end accommodations than hospitals. The rooms have also been expanded to include an additional 75 percent of floor space. In the mother/baby (postpartum) area of the Family Birth Place, rooms are equally impressive, featuring sleeper sofas for guests, private bathrooms, room service, warm and inviting décor, flat screen televisions and other modern amenities.

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Arthur Gross, MD, FACOG, OB/GYN, consults with a patient in the new Labor and Delivery Unit at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center.

“The classic medical environment — sterile walls and machines that make all kinds of seemingly random noises — can provoke anxiety in young people who haven’t been exposed to it,” Dr. Gross says. “Renovations to the Family Birth Place remove patients from a stressful setting and place them in a facility that feels as though they’re walking into a luxury hotel. The immediately relaxing atmosphere mitigates underlying anxiety and helps patients to make calm, rational decisions about their delivery.”

A closer look at the rooms reveals the most important aspect of the design — an infrastructure of advanced medical equipment for enhancing the labor and delivery process.

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Elizabeth B. Carlin, MD, Chief of Pediatrics and Newborn Medicine at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, and Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, examines a newborn in the well-baby nursery.
  • Central monitors allow continuous access to data, including fetal heart tracing, internal electrocardiogram readings and blood pressure levels. Physicians can access the securely housed data from any Internet-capable device.
  • State-of-the-art birthing beds allow comfortable maternal positioning during deliveries and automated birthing mirrors provide mothers the ability to observe the delivery.
  • Automatic electronic surgical tracking lights descend from hidden compartments in the ceiling to illuminate the delivery without overwhelming the mother.

The Family Birth Place also features a step-down unit that allows expectant and postpartum mothers who need further monitoring to be cared for in a more appropriate setting. This ensures that labor and delivery rooms will be available for mothers who are giving birth.

Advanced NICU

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Dr. Carlin (center), reviews a case with her neonatologist colleagues Howard Mazin, MD, and Loren DeLuca, MD.

Englewood Hospital’s community intensive-designated neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is attended 24/7 by neonatologists. These board-certified professionals attend difficult deliveries and care for the full spectrum of neonatal complications, according to Elizabeth B. Carlin, MD, Chief of Pediatrics and Newborn Medicine at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, and Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

The modern 13-bed NICU nursery features state-of-the-art incubators, monitors and ventilators. In the labor and delivery unit, specially designed infant beds are equipped with heat, oxygen, oxygen monitoring, suction, continuous positive airway pressure devices and ventilators to provide newborns anything they might need immediately following birth.

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Obstetricians Dr. Gross and Dr. Frieden in one of two new operating rooms in the Labor and Delivery Unit at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center

NICU physicians collaborate with Englewood’s full complement of specialists, such as neonatal nurses, pediatric surgeons, pediatric cardiologists, pediatric gastroenterologists and anesthesiologists, to treat neonatal complications.

“Delivery isn’t always low-risk,” Dr. Frieden says. “It’s nice to provide a comfortable patient experience, but in obstetrics, the situation can change from routine to emergent literally in a heartbeat, and you have to have the technology and expertise in place for immediate action when these complications arise. We have the resources and medical expertise for immediate care at a moment’s notice.”

Maternal-fetal medicine specialists identify likely complications and alert the NICU to potential early deliveries, congenital problems and the possible need for surgery or other specialized care following delivery. Two state-of-the-art, spacious operating rooms are equipped to handle Caesarian sections.

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Christina Zisa, RN, and Valerie French, Patient Care Director of the new Mother/Baby Unit and NICU, with a new mother and baby

Physicians immediately inform and counsel expectant families about the potential for complications and carefully present the treatment plan.

“The other day, for example, a family toured the NICU,” Dr. Carlin recounts. “We had prenatally diagnosed the baby with a significant congenital malformation. The family met with me and the other neonatologists, as well as the nursing team and the speech pathologist who will be working with the baby. It gave the family a tremendous amount of relief to know how well-prepared we are to care for their infant with special needs.”

“When expectant parents tour our facility, they see the luxurious amenities and comfortable environment. What they may not see is that Englewood Hospital and Medical Center is a Magnet-recognized facility that has received Healthgrades’ Maternity Care Excellence and 5 Star Awards for 12 consecutive years and has been among the top 5 percent nationwide for clinical excellence in maternity and newborn care.”
— Faith Frieden, MD, Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center

Complications can arise unexpectedly during delivery, and neonatologists at the Family Birth Place prepare for these situations as well.

“When delivering babies, you have to be ready for surprises,” Dr. Carlin says. “Parents don’t always realize this when choosing a place to deliver, but having a delivery facility with the backup of expert neonatologists and highly experienced neonatal nurses is an invaluable asset for families.”

A number of complications can arise in labor. A baby’s heart rate might not tolerate labor, so an emergency C-section could be called for. Or babies may pass their first bowel movement before birth and inhale fecal matter, which can potentially cause significant lung problems.

Teaming Up against Complications

For expected complicated deliveries, physicians at the Family Birth Place consult with maternal-fetal medicine specialists to complete the care continuum and optimize outcomes. This teamwork begins at the Antepartum Testing Center long before delivery. Accredited by the American Institute of Ultrasound Medicine since 1999, the center performs approximately 10,000 ultrasound procedures annually, according to Dr. Frieden.

“We ensure open lines of communication throughout the care team,” Dr. Frieden says. “When we identify potential complications, we communicate that information to the patient, introduce her to the specialist responsible for managing that aspect of treatment, and coordinate care plans. We act as liaisons for patients so they don’t feel lost or alone during this stressful time.”

Personalized Care

“At the Antepartum Testing Center, every patient is personally evaluated by a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, who reviews the imaging studies with the patient and answers her questions,” Dr. Frieden says. “By the time patients leave, they know their results and have arranged for any further evaluation, if necessary. This represents the personal, hands-on focus we’re committed to providing at the Family Birth Place.”

For more information about Englewood Hospital’s Family Birth Place, visit www.englewoodhospital.com/ms_familybirth_home.asp.