The maternity unit, well-baby nursery and neonatal intensive care unit of Long Island Jewish Forest Hills are undergoing an $8.2 million expansion that’s bringing state-of-the-art healthcare to women and infants in Queens.
“It’s an exciting time,” said Orlando Santandreu, MD, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at LIJ Forest Hills. “We’re extending services. It’s not just about maternity, it’s about women and comprehensive women’s health care.”
Those services include gynecologic oncology for cancer patients, maternal fetal medicine for high-risk pregnancies, urogynecology for pelvic floor disorders, urinary incontinence, prolapses and other related health issues.
In addition, facility upgrades are also underway allowing the hospital’s level 2 neonatal intensive care unit to build upon the care it provides for babies born at greater than 32 weeks gestation or who are recovering from more serious conditions.
As part of this expansion, LIJ Forest Hills has begun construction to add ten private maternity beds to its post-partum unit. When complete in late fall, the maternity department will encompass the entire third floor.
Most patient rooms will contain one bed, with six large rooms set aside for two-bedded accommodations. The change will provide a greater degree of privacy for recuperating moms as they bond with their newborns, interact with health care providers, receive visitors and sleep.
Recently, LIJ Forest Hills was designated a “Baby-Friendly” hospital, an internationally recognized award highlighting the facility’s dedication to improving breastfeeding rates while encouraging mother-infant bonding.
Dr. Santandreu stressed that education about the importance of breastfeeding – with its health benefits for both mother and infant – cannot start at the hospital only.
“This has to transition through pre-natal care; even before women get pregnant, discussions should happen with their OB/GYN doctors,” said Dr. Santandreu. “Our faculty practice and clinic are actively involved in teaching women about breastfeeding.”
That’s accomplished through the Women’s New Life Center at the hospital and its satellite Women’s Health Center in Rego Park, which provides a free monthly program to women to learn about the hospital’s maternity services.
In recent years, the number of labor and delivery patients at LIJ Forest Hills has been averaging approximately 2,000 annually.
That patient volume has remained steady despite competing hospitals vying for patients by updating their maternity wings and modernizing their facilities is a testament to the hospital staff and services at LIJ Forest Hills, noted Dr. Santandreu.
“The community is realizing that LIJFH provides excellent clinical care, and also provides an excellent patient experience.”