Hoops Family Children’s Hospital receives $1.5 million for Neonatal Therapeutic Unit upgrades

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

The Neonatal Therapeutic Unit (NTU) at the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital (HFCH) has recently undergone a makeover, providing a more welcoming, enlarged space for families thanks to a $1 million gift from the Cabell Huntington Hospital Auxiliary and a $500,000 grant from the Mylan Charitable Foundation.

(L-R): Lori Blackburn, NICU nurse manager at HFCH; Jodi Plumley, MD, NTU medical director at HFCH and associate professor at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine; Marsha Ater, president of the Cabell Huntington Hospital Auxiliary; Christina Matlick, administrative director for the Mylan Charitable Foundation; and Eduardo Pino, MD, medical director of HFCH and chief medical information officer for Mountain Health Network.

The NTU is the first of its kind in the state of West Virginia and one of the first in the United States to treat newborns prenatally exposed to substances causing symptoms of withdrawal, a condition called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). In this unit, the babies benefit most from the quiet, supportive hospital setting. Babies with severe symptoms may need treatment with medications, while those with milder symptoms may only need therapeutic handling.

The complete remodel of the NTU has provided a welcoming, low-light and low-noise environment that meets the needs of The Maternity Center at Cabell Huntington Hospital, said Melanie Akers, DNP, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, director of HFCH and The Maternity Center.

The newly renovated NTU at Hoops Family Children’s Hospital was designed with bright colors and butterflies to match the NICU in the children’s hospital. Akers said the butterfly, which emerges from a cocoon, was chosen to represent how babies grow and thrive in the NTU.

“The renovations have enabled the unit to offer eight fully private rooms with private bathrooms and showers, as well as seven other rooms that have the ability to be private or shared rooms dependent upon the needs of each patient,” Akers said. “The private rooms improve the family-centered environment allowing families to better bond with their babies, actively participate in their infant’s care, and receive education and resources that will assist them in being a healthy, happy family.”

Akers said the new NTU allows for individualized non-pharmacologic interventions for the infants, such as music therapy and neonatal therapeutic touch and massage that assist in decreasing symptoms and length of stay. The new space can also accommodate babies from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

“The new NTU will provide babies with the best possible opportunity for recovery and allow the mother, father and extended family to form healthy habits that will continue beyond the hospital stay,” said Marsha Ater, president of the Cabell Huntington Hospital Auxiliary. “We are proud to collaborate with the Mylan Charitable Foundation to provide more resources and continue to improve our processes to aid families to live healthier lives.”

For more information about the NTU, visit www.hoopschildrens.org. To learn more about giving back to HFCH, visit www.mountainhealthfoundations.org/donate.