A Publication of WTVP

Did you know that you have world-class children’s healthcare, literally, right in your own backyard? The Children’s Hospital of Illinois’ Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) has recently learned that it’s the top-performing NICU in the world! This status is based on patient outcomes from 2005 to 2007.

The Children’s Hospital NICU shared information with more than 600 other NICUs around the world through the Vermont Oxford Network, a premier, voluntary network of NICUs that facilitates information- sharing to work on systems for the best care possible. Specific complications evaluated included chronic lung disease, infections, bleeding into the brain, death, eye disease and other intestinal and lung complications. The differences in patient populations were also taken into consideration to make an accurate comparison possible. When you add the fact that the Children’s Hospital of Illinois NICU is in the top 10 percent for shortest length of stay in the hospital, you can see what an asset it is for the families of central Illinois.

These outcomes are directly credited to the NICU Care Team members who have worked tirelessly over many years to build a culture of quality improvement and service. They have been active in multiple quality improvement and safety collaboratives and projects with other NICUs across the country and Canada over the past 15 years. These projects have involved many caregivers, including physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists and NICU parents.

“It’s great that the world gets a glimpse of what I get to see everyday,” said Pat Hegwood, patient care manager for the NICU at Children’s Hospital of Illinois. “I am delighted and incredibly proud of everyone’s involvement in caring for the kids and embracing family-centered care.”

One of the special qualities about the NICU at Children’s Hospital of Illinois is the strong involvement of families in the care of their children. While the doctors and nurses know how to treat the kids medically, the parents are involved every step of the way and are encouraged to ask questions and learn what is being done during treatment. The Children’s Hospital has families of former NICU patients who sit on quality boards to help look into what we can do better.

The Children’s Hospital of Illinois has 125 nurses, 30 of which are nationally certified in neonatal care. We also have more than 20 patient care technicians who serve as great support to our nurses. Children’s Hospital admits around 170 babies each year with a birth weight less than 3 lbs 5 ounces. Our other patients average about five pounds.

Part of the NICU vision and culture is characterized by an atmosphere of compassion, respect and trust. An appreciation for the value of all roles is seen through collaboration, open communication, recognition and continual learning by the multidisciplinary team. This is right in line with the OSF Saint Francis mission of serving people with the greatest care and love. iBi