The residents of the South Suburbs will soon see a new, state of the art neonatal intensive care unit at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, thanks to the support of State Senator Michael E. Hastings.
Hastings (D-Frankfort) secured $600,000 in funding to build and operate a single-family, 24 private room NICU facility to serve area residents.
“Welcoming a newborn child that is either born prematurely or with a serious health condition can be an extremely stressful and difficult experience,” Hastings said. “This new NICU will give loved ones the option to stay close to home during this critical stage.”
Most babies admitted to the NICU are preterm, which means they were born before 37 weeks of pregnancy, have low birth weight that is less than 5.5 pounds, or have a health condition that needs special care. Twins, triplets, and other multiples often are also admitted to the NICU. Babies with health conditions such as breathing trouble, heart problems, infections, or birth defects are also cared for in the NICU.
Moreover, 58% of patients in Silver Cross’ total service area receive high-risk neonatal care elsewhere. According to the 2020 March of Dimes Report Card, 11.1%of babies in Will County are born premature, which is high compared with the rest of the nation.
“These vital taxpayer dollars will help Silver Cross serve and give special care for our tiniest patients,” Hastings said. “For years, these young infants have had to travel to an NICU elsewhere. We can only imagine the stress and fear this creates for parents during an already trying time.”
In 2021 there were 3,100 babies born at Silver Cross, which is the most among Will County hospitals.
The new facility at Silver Cross will be the county’s first and sole level three NICU. It is set to open next month and begin serving local residents.