St. Elizabeth staff counting down to moving day

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Staff at St. Elizabeth Health Center’s Boardman campus and Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley are counting down to their big move, which is now just six days away.

Both labor and deliver and the neonatal intensive care units are moving from St. Elizabeth’s campus in Youngstown to the hospital on Market Street in Boardman on Monday. It is something that has been in the works for 18 months, and the staff is excited that it is finally happening.

“We did a lot of research in finding out the advantages to the single patient room. We did visits to other hospitals, we tried to learn from their implementations to single-patient rooms, some of the things that they suggested, some of the things they told us to avoid,” said Mary Ellen Michael, NICU nurse manager.

The NICU is staffed by Akron Children’s Hospital, but is located at St. Elizabeth.

“We are part of one comprehensive team, so the maternity service here as a Level III goes with the neonatal service on the second floor, so the neonatal intensive care will provide that specialized care to our critically ill newborns,” said Anna Klejka, director of women’s services for St. Elizabeth.

In addition to the private rooms, the new maternity and neonatal ward also features a top-of-the line security system, which includes video phones so employees can see who they are buzzing into the unit

“It’s just another protective measure. The unit itself is locked down at multiple points. No one just comes into the unit without having either a badge for access or that they have been buzzed in by one of the staff,” Michael said.

The nurses also are equipped with iPhones that monitor each baby.

Both units will have teams in Youngstown and Boardman on Monday. The move starts at 7 a.m.

On a related note, Akron Children’s Hospital  is looking for volunteers to help their staff at the NICU’s new location.

Michael said they already have some people signed up, but they would like a few more.  Volunteers would be asked to greet the families, maintain the family and sibling area, get supplies for the nurses when needed, and those willing to train to become cuddlers.

“The cuddlers are specially trained volunteers who can come into the room and take some of our stable neonatal babies who may need some holding when the families are unable to come in to visit frequently if they live at a distance, they’re having trouble with babysitting, some of our drug withdrawal babies can be very fussy and they may need to be held as well,” Michael said.

Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Akron Children Hospital’s Beeghly campus at 330-746-8350.

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