Improving the quality of care for medically fragile babies and their families.


In response to increasing demand for NICU services, in 2018 Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH) and The Ohio State University sought to capitalize on a study of the existing facilities at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. That study had identified a need for expansion of the NICU to improve the patient experience.

The University and NCH sought to decompress the existing congested NICU units and to increase the amount of square footage allotted to existing beds. The clients also wanted to unify the three separate parts of the existing NICU. To fulfill this vision, the NICU was expanded into adjacent space on the sixth floor of Doan Hall on the University campus, and 11 new NICU bays were relocated and enlarged. Eight of the bays are three-sided, to provide privacy while maintaining connection to the staff work areas on the unit. Three of the bays are private rooms for newborns who must be isolated for medical reasons. The expanded space around each bed makes room for sleeper-chairs and other equipment. The chairs allow family members to stay comfortably overnight, supporting critical parent-child bonding for at-risk newborns.

The renovation also includes a new area that connects the separate areas of the NICU, creating a central controlled entrance to the unit and providing improved access to the NICU bays for family members. Some key staff areas, including work areas for neonatal nurse practitioners and fellows and respiratory therapists, remain on the sixth floor to allow staff access to the patients and their families. Other staff support areas—including on-call space, a conference room, offices, a break room, lockers, and bed storage—were moved to available space on the seventh floor of Doan Hall.