June 6, 2008 | When the new UAMS Medical Center opens in January 2009, it will contain one of the country’s premier neonatal intensive care units (NICU) complete with features not found at most other facilities in the country.
The amenities — including a laundry room and kitchen — are intended to ease the burden of parents whose newborn infants often remain hospitalized for weeks or months.
“Just being able to wash your clothes is a big deal to these new parents, many of whom come from miles away to give birth at UAMS,” said Ashley Ross, M.D. assistant professor of pediatrics.
On May 28, Ross accepted a donation of $25,000 on behalf of the NICU from the UAMS Consortium, a council of advocates for the future of UAMS. The donation represented a portion of the proceeds from the Julep Cup Jaunt, an annual consortium-sponsored Kentucky Derby watch party and fundraising event. It will name the NICU’s laundry room, kitchen, education room and one of the sleeping rooms in honor of the Consortium.
The donation is part of a three-year pledge of $70,000 from the Consortium to the NICU. The group gave an additional $20,000 last year to name a NICU sleeping room.
In addition, the Consortium fulfilled a previous pledge of $7,000 to the ANGELS program to purchase laptop computers. Sarah Rhoads, advanced practice nurse, accepted the donation on behalf of ANGELS, a program that makes UAMS’ board-certified maternal-fetal specialists available to hospitals statewide using telemedicine technology. ANGELS stands for Antenatal and Neonatal Guidelines, Education and Learning System.
ANGELS also provides ANGEL Eye web cams for parents to view their babies in the NICU. Among other uses, the laptop computers will allow mothers who remain hospitalized following birth to view their babies, Rhoads said.