St. Mary’s Hospital is home to a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) which offers newborns a higher level of care, including newborns with critical illnesses and those born as early as 28 weeks of age. With a need for more space and increased privacy for families, Christner architects and designers worked closely with clinicians and staff to design a state-of-the-art facility with a soothing environment that supports shorter NICU stays, a better quality of life and improved outcomes for babies.
The new NICU consists of 42 intensive-care beds, including two rooms to accommodate twins. Adjoining rooms are also offered on one corridor of the unit. Educational components were central to the unit’s design. A large classroom was designed for childbirth classes within the NICU. In order to accommodate students from St. Louis University School of Medicine, the unit also includes one fully-equipped simulation room for teaching and observation. A family lounge is located next to an existing roof terrace and offers parents’ showers, kitchenette, laundry facilities.
The design of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was inspired by nature, which is close to the hearts of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary. A local photographer was commissioned to photograph native plants with symbolic meanings. This collection of images is displayed throughout the unit and represents the perseverance, courage, and strength of NICU babies and their families.