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Laboring in Luxury

Many upgrades at Littauer’s maternity ward

December 20, 2009
By RODNEY MINOR, The Leader-Herald

GLOVERSVILLE - The new maternity ward at Nathan Littauer Hospital looks more like part of a hotel than a section of a hospital.

Manager of Maternal Child Health Kim Colvin said part of the hospital's goal for its six month, $1.2 million renovation was for the maternity ward to show some luxury.

"It's providing the women of Fulton County with what they want," she said Tuesday.

Article Photos

The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan

Nathan Littauer Hospital President and CEO Laurence Kelly, left, talks with Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry President Wally Hart in the maternity wing nursery at the hospital in Gloversville on Tuesday.

Colvin headed up the project, which had a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday.

While studying what other successful maternity centers had, she noted four common themes: safety and services; luxury; privacy; and a sense of freedom.

In the renovated maternity ward, 1,000 feet of Oak trim was used to line the halls and the rooms. Throughout the halls and in the seven postpartum rooms and the three labor and delivery rooms, the paint is pale greens, whites and creams.

Carly Babcock of Wells, an expecting mother at the ribbon-cutting Tuesday, said the colors were relaxing.

"It's almost like an expensive hotel room," she said.

Colvin said the new layout and design of the facility - essentially a square with the postpartum, birthing and treatment rooms around the outside, with the nurses station and nursery in the center - allows for easier control of who is up in the center and visiting.

In addition to the flatscreen TVs in the postpartum rooms, a key change is that they all are now private, she said.

"Due to the number of visitors stopping by to see each mother, women said they did not get the rest they needed," Colvin said.

The largest of the three birthing rooms also includes a bathroom with a whirlpool tub to help relax expectant mothers.

Cheryl McGrattan, public relations director for the hospital, said she used a whirlpool tub when she was an expectant mother. It helped ease the back pain she was experiencing, she said.

Alexandra Ruggeri of Gloversville, an expectant mother at the ribbon cutting Tuesday, said she did not expect what she saw in the renovated rooms.

"It's very cozy," Ruggeri, an employee of The Leader-Herald, said.

The beds in the birthing rooms, decorated with new comforters, now transform into labor beds to quickly begin birthing.

McGrattan said the hospital encourages peoples' partners to stay with the mother in the rooms. So the chairs now fold out into beds to help people more comfortably spend the night, she said.

As a final touch, the hospital also sends moms home with a gourmet meal, so they do not have to cook their first night back home.

The hospital also made its surgical room larger, along with having wider hallways and doors. McGrattan said they allows staff and equipment to get where it is needed, such as during an emergency c-section.

She said the cost for people using the center will still be the same.

A news release said for the project, the architects, " created an Adirondack-inspired center for Littauer replete with oak trim, wood-styled floors, granite hued ceramic tile accented with a palette of greens and golds and finished with wrought iron lighting."

Pictures of the old maternity ward show it was mostly a plain, white spartan facility.

"They were more clinical aseptic," Colvin said.

Dayton King, the mayor-elect of Gloversville, said his wife gave birth to their two children at the old facility.

"It was not bad before, but it is certainly well improved," he said.

Wally Hart, the president of the Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said the renovated materity unit is an amazing addition to the county.

"It is like they are going to a spa," he said.

In 2008, 447 babies were born at Littauer Hospital. That was about a 12 percent increase over 2007.

According to the state Department of Health Web site, in 2008 Nathan Littauer Hospital had about 64 babies born per maternity bed. That is more than other area hospitals, including St. Mary's Hospital at Amsterdam - 53 per bed - and Ellis Hospital, Bellevue Woman's Center in Schenectady - 55 per bed.

In a news release, Laurence E. Kelly, Littauer's president and Chief Executive Officer, said the project started with a desire to replace the aging maternity unit with a state-of-the-art new center.

McGrattan said leadership at the hospital traveled to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs, Colo., in August 2008 and toured their maternity center and emergency department.

In June, Valley View Hospital announced it was awarded 2009-10 Outstanding Patient Experience Award from Healthgrades, an independent healthcare rating organization. The hospital was in the top 15 percent of all hospitals in the nation on patient satisfaction scores.

The Littauer staff brought back ideas to apply to their hospital.

"It is more than gratifying to see it completed, and even surpassing our expectations," Kelly said in the release.

The new unit at the hospital also includes:

Wireless internet service.

Pregnancy and newborn education.

Kitchenette for families.

Interpreter services.

Family lounge.

Nurses trained in breastfeeding support.

An education room.



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