Columbus, OH,
16:54 PM

A look inside the new Nationwide Children's Hospital NICU at Riverside

As a parent, having a child of any age in the hospital is scary. But being told your newborn baby is extremely sick and needs transferred to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), is terrifying.

The Nationwide Children’s Hospital NICU at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital recently opened after $9 million of renovations. The unit provides a more comfortable environment for the smallest and most vulnerable patients and their families. Having this state-of-the-art facility a short walk from the Labor and Delivery Unit offers quick and seamless transitions for the babies and families.

“We are the busiest birthing center in the state of Ohio,” Thomas Harmon, MD, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Riverside Methodist, said. “But we don’t have to transfer our sickest babies outside of the hospital.”

Roland Tokarski, OhioHealth System Vice President of Construction and Real Estate, felt especially passionate about this project because 13 years ago, his son, Rollie, spent 100 days in Riverside Methodist’s NICU. In honor of the care Rollie received, the Tokarski family donated a room in the new NICU with the hope other families will have a great experience like they did.

“I think [the new NICU] is really going to make a difference in people’s lives during probably the most vulnerable time that they’ll ever have,” Roland Tokarski said.

The new NICU includes 42 beds, 26 private rooms and eight semi-private rooms, with space for staff, babies and families. Staff members have the ability to see into the rooms to check monitors without disturbing the family. This privacy allows parents to provide skin-to-skin contact or “kangaroo care,” which greatly improves outcomes. Rooms also includes refrigerators and the unit includes a milk depot because medical professionals believe breast milk is the best “medicine.”