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New Ulm Medical Center

Growing to meet the needs of new families

In the New Year, the Birth Center at New Ulm Medical Center (NUMC) will have a bigger and better facility. The changes will provide an even more comfortable place for new parents.

In early 2013, the Birth Center will add two new labor and delivery rooms, for a total of six. The existing rooms will undergo a facelift. The nursery will expand and move to an area near the nurses’ station. The Birth Center’s security system will also become more advanced.

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New Ulm Medical Center Maintenance Supervisor Dave Wenk performs safety checks daily in the construction area that will soon be the new labor and delivery suites in the Birth Center.

The $1.2 million expansion and renovation gives the Birth Center a space that better matches the level of patient care it already offers, said Jennifer Brehmer, nurse manager of the Birth Center.

With a few regional hospitals closing their OB units, NUMC is expecting to help more new mothers. That’s why the expansion is so timely. “We have the potential to grow, and we need more modern amenities that women are looking for. We already have great staff in place,” Brehmer said.

“This will give patients a nicer, homier environment,” said Chief of Staff Marc J. Burkhart, MD, one of two OB/GYNs on staff.

The Birth Center expects to deliver 335 babies in 2012. That number will likely increase next year, Brehmer said.

Changes underway

The existing rooms will receive a more up-to-date look. All rooms will have a pull-out bed for dads or other family members.

Until now, about 25 percent of patients had to be placed in rooms outside the Birth Center unit once they delivered. With the addition of two new rooms, mothers can stay in the unit much more often.

“We want to keep patients in the OB area” instead of moving them to another unit, said Dr. Burkhart.

The current nursery is expanding. It will be located closer to the nurses’ station, making nurses’ workflow easier.

The new electronic security system will provide better protection to newborns. Newborns will wear a special tag. If someone tries to take a baby out of the unit, sensors on the door will sense the tag, and an alarm will go off. “We already have safety measures in place now. This just adds another layer of security,” Brehmer said.

Patients at the Birth Center (and throughout the hospital system) can go online to use the innovative, electronic MyChart system to communicate with their doctors. Patients can use MyChart to make appointments, send messages or questions to doctors, see lab results, and get general medical information. For example, pregnant patients can use MyChart to find results from urine tests, blood counts, and ultrasound reports, said Burkhart. Also, parents can access all their child’s medical records, including current immunizations. With MyChart, patients get their health information more quickly, Burkhart said.

As always, patients and their babies also have onsite specialists such as pediatricians and respiratory therapists who can see them at the Birth Center.

You can help

Construction for the Birth Center renovation began over the summer.

You can still help NUMC with the expansion of the Birth Center. Allina Health is providing $900,000 for the project. A $100,000 grant from the state is also going toward the expansion. The NUMC Foundation is hoping to raise $200,000. Donors will have the opportunity to name areas of the updated facilities for their contributions. For more information, go to the NUMC Foundation website. Or, call 507-217-5180 to donate.