Columbus, OH,
18:31 PM

OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital to open new, expanded Nationwide Children’s Hospital NICU

Central Ohio’s first Ronald McDonald Family Room also coming to Riverside this summer

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The expanded Nationwide Children’s Hospital Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital will open on April 11, 2017. Work on the $9 million expansion began last spring to expand the unit to 42 beds, with 26 single occupancy rooms and eight double occupancy rooms. The double occupancy rooms will also allow twins to share a room. The space, which is located on the fourth floor of the Yellow Area of the hospital, also features a larger family waiting area, increased storage and an improved overall family experience. Through their partnership, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and OhioHealth are sharing the cost of the unit expansion.

“It can be a stressful time for parents to have a new baby in the NICU,” said Thomas Harmon, MD, vice president of medical affairs at Riverside Methodist. “Our hope is that this new, expanded space, will allow families to be together with their newborn in a more comfortable, private area and for new babies to receive care in a modern, state-of-the art-environment. Riverside is thrilled to have partnered with Nationwide Children’s Hospital to provide these babies with the best possible start.”

“As therapies that will save the smallest of premature infants continue to advance, it is important to have the space and technology that allow staff and families to work together on integrated care,” said Linda Stoverock, senior vice president and chief nursing officer at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “On behalf of the Nationwide Children’s teams of nurses, respiratory therapists, nurse practitioners, physicians and families, we are grateful for this partnership with OhioHealth and expansion that will provide the optimal environment to apply life-saving care to our most fragile patients.”

Additional Features

The new Nationwide Children’s NICU at Riverside is bright and inviting, with lots of natural light. However, each room is equipped with blackout curtains to ensure the babies are able to sleep. Other features include:

  • State-of-the-art technology with alert and monitoring systems
  • Pullout sofa beds for parents
  • Comfortable chairs to allow for skin-to-skin “Kangaroo Care” between parents and babies
  • Private breast pumps in the single occupancy rooms
  • Refrigerators in each room for moms to store breast milk (milk will be picked up each day, stored in the milk depot and returned to the room at feeding time)

Additional Rooms

The expanded Nationwide Children’s NICU at Riverside includes a transition room, which is used if an infant needs more support before going home. An example is if they needed to be monitored for apnea. The family would spend time in the transition room using the necessary equipment under the supervision of a nurse, to make sure they are comfortable using it before heading home.

There is also an isolation room that provides positive or negative pressure, depending on the infant’s needs and prevents the spread of viruses to other areas of the NICU.

Community Support

A portion of the project was funded by donors to the OhioHealth Foundation, as well as by OhioHealth associates who chose to support the project through the recent OhioHealth Giving Campaign.

Major donations were provided by Mary Ann and John May, Jr., Big Lots Foundation, The Daimler and White Family Foundations, Alliance Data, Crane Group and The Crane Family, The George and Elizabeth Kelly Foundation, Pediatrix Medical Group, Dawson, Continental, and Columbia Gas of Ohio.

“We have received wonderful community support for this project, as well as support from our own associates at OhioHealth,” said Karen Morrison, president, OhioHealth Foundation. “The expanded NICU, built because of these funds, will allow both OhioHealth and Nationwide Children’s to improve the health of those we serve – in this case, our smallest, most vulnerable patients.”


Coming Soon: Ronald McDonald Family Room

Families of NICU patients, as well as families with new babies, will also soon have a new place to relax and recharge at Riverside. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio has partnered with OhioHealth to launch central Ohio’s first Ronald McDonald Family Room. It will open during the summer of 2017.

The 1,000-square foot space on the fifth floor of the Yellow Area is currently under construction and will feature:

  • Family gathering area with recliners and a television
  • Dining area with a kitchenette, table and chairs
  • Complimentary laundry machines (detergent provided)
  • Children’s play area (games, crafts and gaming system)
  • Multi-purpose space for massage, haircuts and other restorative practices
  • Complimentary snack food and coffee
  • ADA accessible shower (toiletries and linens provided)
  • Work station with a desk, computer and complimentary Wi-Fi

“We are so excited to be working with Ronald McDonald House Charities to provide this service for families of NICU and maternity patients,” said Morrison. “This space will offer much needed resources for families to make their time at the hospital a little more convenient. We are especially grateful to donors like the Blue Jackets Foundation with support from the Lady Jackets, Worthington Industries and Safelite AutoGlass for helping to make this space possible.”

“This is a very exciting time for our community,” said Dee Anders, CEO and Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. “The Ronald McDonald Family Room concept has proven to be a tremendous service to children and families within hospitals around the world, and we are thrilled to partner with OhioHealth to bring the program to life in Columbus. Being the first of its kind in Central Ohio, we look forward to serving thousands of our neighbors at Riverside.”

“Both the Ronald McDonald Family Room and the Nationwide Children’s NICU at Riverside will provide invaluable services to our patients here,” said Brian Jepson, president of Riverside. “We could not be more enthusiastic about these services and what they will mean for an improved experience for both NICU and maternity patients and their families.”

About OhioHealth

OhioHealth is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit, charitable, healthcare outreach of the United Methodist Church. Based in Columbus, Ohio, OhioHealth is currently recognized as one of the top five large health systems in America by Truven Health Analytics, an honor it has received six times. It is also recognized by FORTUNE Magazine as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” and has been for eleven years in a row, 2007-2017.

Serving its communities since 1891, it is a family of 28,000 associates, physicians and volunteers, and a network of 11 hospitals, 50+ ambulatory sites, hospice, home-health, medical equipment and other health services spanning a 40-county area.

OhioHealth hospitals include OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, OhioHealth Doctors Hospital, OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital, OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital, OhioHealth Hardin Memorial Hospital, OhioHealth Marion General Hospital, OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital, OhioHealth Shelby Hospital and OhioHealth Rehabilitation Hospital. For more information, please visit our website at

About Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Each year, more than 4,400 babies receive the most comprehensive care in Nationwide Children’s Newborn Intensive and Special Care Units. As the largest neonatal network in the nation, the team of rigorously trained neonatologists, neonatal nurse practitioners, advanced practice nurses, staff nurses and other health-care specialists at Nationwide Children’s are dedicated to not only treating, but ultimately preventing all complications of prematurity, including Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD) and neurodevelopmental abnormalities. This extraordinary number of patients allows Nationwide Children’s to provide the highest level of care and translate that expertise into cutting edge-programs that address fetal diagnosis and therapies across the spectrum of newborn conditions to essential long-term follow-up care.

Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report’s 2016-17 list of “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s is America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric healthcare system with a staff of more than 11,000 providing state-of-the-art pediatric care during more than 1.2 million patient visits annually. More information is available at