Case Study

Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist The Birth Center and The Dale and Karen Sisel Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Delivering Safe and Secure Choices to Expectant Mothers

<strong>Winston-Salem, North Carolina</strong>

The Challenge

Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist has always offered high-risk birth services, but it wanted to expand to include a full-service labor and delivery center. Also, the existing neonatal intensive care unit needed updating to offer private patient rooms and accommodate the latest technology. To do so, it needed to renovate existing space within the fully operational academic medical center with connections to important support services.

The Design Solution

Located on the top floors of the Ardmore and North towers, The Birth Center brings a new level of convenience and comfort. A dedicated entrance brings new parents directly to the 11th-floor reception area.

The center provides the full range of delivery options from routine, traditional births to certified nurse midwife-assisted births with hydrotherapy, to cesarean and other complex births. More than 250 stakeholders including nurses, midwives and physicians collaborated to develop a new labor and delivery model. The Birth Center’s clinical and design teams worked with patient advisers to make sure the new facility includes features that are most important to mothers and families.

Every detail was considered by the HKS design team to ensure the best family-centered experience. The LDR and recovery rooms provide a home-like birthing experience with separate entries for patients and staff. All deliveries have immediate access to Brenner Children’s pediatric specialists, and the Sisel NICU – a Level IV NICU, the highest level possible – is just across the hall. Private NICU rooms encourage families to spend more time with their babies, which research shows can improve outcomes.

Design inspiration came from the beautiful lakes and mountains in North Carolina. The walls are covered in panoramic graphics, and much of the artwork was created by local artists. Each floor has a special respite area for physicians and staff, so they are close at hand if needed.

The Design Impact

The Birth Center and The Dale and Karen Sisel Neonatal Intensive Care Unit offers a variety of birthing options to new parents in the Triad area in a calm, safe environment. It provides a sense of security to new moms, who now know that specialized medical help is nearby in the event of complications. The Birth Center celebrated more than 2,500 births in the first year of operation, and the Sisel NICU cared for more than 800 infants.

Project Features

  • 12 antepartum beds
  • 18 postpartum beds
  • 17 labor and delivery beds
  • 9 triage rooms
  • 4 procedure rooms
  • 53-bed NICU