2021 Billings Clinic Classic
Every day at Billings Clinic, we work hard to deliver high quality, compassionate care to our patients and are committed to addressing the many health care needs of the growing region we serve. Billings Clinic serves a region that covers the majority of Montana, Northern Wyoming and the Western Dakotas. As Montana’s largest health care system, it is a responsibility that we take very seriously.
Our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) opened 22 years ago, and since then, technology and the delivery of care have changed dramatically. One of the biggest changes over the years has been the increasing integration of families into the care of their babies. There is evidence that parents are the “active ingredient” and when they are present, the outcomes are improved, costs are reduced and there is greater parent and staff satisfaction.
Neonatology services and subspecialties are more sophisticated than ever before. We are in desperate need of a redefined space to continue to deliver world class care to the tiniest of patients while allowing for the best family experience. Our philosophy of care is centered on mother and baby together, supported by family. In our current configuration, isolettes are stationed in open bays with curtains, and the absence of internal walls and doors make noise very difficult to control. Privacy during this challenging time for families is non-existent, and there is no natural light given the NICU’s current location in the center of the Family Birth Center. Supplies and equipment are often stored 3 floors below as there is not adequate storage space in the unit. The lack of space has the greatest impact on the parents of our tiniest patients. Imagine not having the ability to comfortably stay overnight with your incredibly sick baby and having to leave the unit to use the rest room or get a drink of water.
While the number of admits has remained steady the past several years, there has been a significant increase in the number of days the littlest patients stay. The infants we are caring for are more unstable and critically ill than in the past. The smallest among them stay on average 90 to 100 days up to 120 days, with 25% of the babies coming to Billings Clinic through the transport of our highly trained MedFlight Team. The top reasons the babies are admitted to the NICU include premature birth, respiratory distress, hypoglycemia, and neonatal abstinence syndrome which is when a baby is withdrawing from certain drugs they were exposed to in the womb prior to birth. A full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks. As a Level III NICU, we are able to care for babies born as early as 25 gestational weeks. Specially trained staff are on site 24 hours a day, and includes 4 neonatologists, neonatal nurses, pediatric specialists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, pharmacist, lactation consultants and respiratory therapists.
The 2021 Classic will support a $3.5 million initiative to construct the new, state-of-the-art NICU. Your support will make a lasting difference by creating an environment that offers privacy, comfort, and security, where there is room for families to bond and to comfort one another, and where our highly trained and specialized staff can deliver the highest quality care available in our region.
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