KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) – Infants and their families needing lifesaving care in the region will experience even greater support with the opening of a new and larger neonatal intensive care unit at Holston Valley Medical Center.
Leaders of Holston Valley, Wellmont Health System, and the community gathered Wednesday to celebrate the expanded unit, which is housed on the hospital’s third floor.
The ribbon cutting marked the latest stage of growth in the NICU program at Holston Valley, which has delivered high-quality care for newborns for 30 years.
With double the space, beneficial new services and a soothing and cheerful atmosphere, the new NICU provides an optimal environment to improve children’s lives and comfort family members who face a challenging time in their lives.
“The new space we have created, with community support, will build on our tradition of exceptional care for children early in their lives,” said Tim Attebery, Holston Valley’s president. “We have an outstanding team of physicians, nurses and other professionals who have spent their careers making the lives of these newborns better. Thousands of young children have graduated from our NICU and made their mark on the world, and we look forward to helping even more of them achieve a great start.”
The new NICU, which will open to patients, family and staff members Tuesday, Nov. 8, became possible through the completion of the $2.5 million Next Generation fundraising campaign by Wellmont Foundation.
Large and small donations to this campaign, as well as local contributions from businesses, national sponsors and individuals to Childrens Miracle Network Hospitals enabled Holston Valley to move this project from concept to reality.
Wellmont has been the region’s affiliate for Children’s Miracle Network for nearly 30 years, and all money raised in this area is used by the health system to improve children’s health.
“We are fortunate to live in a region that embraces the value of partnering with us to create a future filled with promise for the children we serve,” said Todd Norris, Wellmont’s senior vice president for system advancement and the foundation’s president. “At this critical juncture in children’s lives, generous partnerships by individuals and companies provide a meaningful way to enhance the quality of care in our NICU and the quality of life in our community.”
With the infusion of these dollars, Holston Valley built a room for sterile procedures such as peripherally inserted central catheters and circumcisions. Plus, the NICU will now have a room designated for parents to spend the night with their child prior to discharge.
One of the other accomplishments is increased privacy and space for families to spend with their children. The new unit contains several private rooms and rooms with a smaller number of beds, which provide a developmentally appropriate space because of a quieter environment and dimmer lighting. These more intimate areas promote breastfeeding and bonding.
In addition to the extra space, designers constructed a visually appealing unit with the use of yellows and greens on the walls and floor and several pictures with attractive scenery and messages of hope and understanding. For example, one says, “No one else will ever know the strength of my love for you. After all, you’re the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside.”
“We have repeatedly made progress with evolutions in our field of medicine that have transformed the lives of newborns entrusted to our care,” Neonatologist at Holston Valley Dr. P.J. Powers said. “This new NICU presents a perfect opportunity to match our facilities with the highly skilled medical care performed by dedicated professionals. Working with infants in some of the most fragile conditions and helping them thrive is a privilege for us, and we’re thrilled to provide that care in a wonderful new location.”