Washington/Packard Children's Special Care Nursery
Imagine your newborn son or daughter was born premature or in need of special medical attention that required around-the-clock care in a hospital setting. What if that care were only available across the Bay? Thanks to the Washington/Packard Children’s Special Care Nursery, parents in the Tri-City area have rested easy for the past decade knowing specialized local care is available.
Through a partnership with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, Washington Hospital operates a nine-bed intermediate intensive care nursery "satellite” providing ongoing care for infants with special needs.
While many babies are able to stay in the hospital for the duration of their care, the nursery also provides emergency treatment to stabilize babies born earlier than 30 weeks gestation before they can be transferred to a "Level III” intensive care neonatal nursery such as Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital or Children’s Hospital in Oakland in cases where they require surgery or mechanical ventilation.
As the only Level II nursery in the area, one of the main goals of the partnership between Washington and Packard has been to provide the best possible care for these very special patients and their families without the added stress of a lengthy commute for parents.
In addition to the nursery’s medical director, Dr. Pramela Ramachandran, who is board-certified in neonatology, the medical staff includes Dr. Dushyant Oza, who also is board-certified in neonatology, and Dr. Maha Malak-Hanna, who is board-certified in pediatrics.
The nursery at Washington was the first of its kind in the Bay Area to operate as a separately licensed nursery functioning inside a "host” hospital and has cared for an estimated 2,800 babies over the past 10 years. It originally opened as a six-bed unit in 1995, reaching its present capacity of nine beds in 1998.
Some patients require care for only a few days, while others stay for a period of months, depending upon their conditions. Nurses perform assessments of each baby, make sure each is safe, watch for potential signs of illness and take care of any immediate needs of each baby, as well as potential needs, Mark says. While the nursing staff’s number one priority is the babies, they work to keep the entire family healthy.
With such a strong bond between staff members, families and babies, many long-lasting relationships are formed. Many parents come back to the nursery with cake for their children’s birthdays and pictures of healthy children at ages 2, 3, 4 and beyond.