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Naval Hospital prepares for labor and delivery ward renovation

Naval Hospital Bremerton began preparations over the Labor Day weekend for a six- to seven-month, $2 million renovation of the fourth floor Labor and Delivery Ward set to begin Oct. 4.

The renovation will be the first for the Labor and Delivery Ward, or “4OB,” since the hospital opened in 1980.

The construction project is part of Navy Medicine’s Family Centered Maternity Care program devoted in large part to making birth an inclusive, family-centered event, said Capt. Mary-Paul Backman, a certified nurse midwife and the OB/GYN department head.

The contract for the construction project was awarded to MARPAC Construction LLC in Seattle. Naval Hospital Bremerton requested that MARPAC use local companies as subcontractors for the project, said Ron Roth, Naval Hospital Bremerton project manager for construction.

Fox Fire Prevention Inc. in Port Orchard, JVL Heating and Fabrication in Bremerton, Silverdale Plumbing, and Quality Encounters Inc. in Port Angeles are the selected subcontractors..

Recent Navy medicine surveys reveal that the No. 1 request from labor and delivery patients is single-room care, Backman said. In response, the new ward will have eight private, single-delivery rooms, allowing patients to labor, deliver and stay in one room. New monitoring equipment in the single-delivery rooms means newborns will be less likely to be moved from mom’s room to the nursery even when extra, low-level monitoring or oxygen is needed.

Currently, 4OB patients go initially to the labor room for delivery and then move to a post-partum room. While 4OB attempts to keep the post-partum room private, patients must occasionally stay in a semi-private room.

“With the totally private rooms from the new construction, the dads will be able to stay with the mom for the whole period if they want,” Backman added.

During the holiday weekend, staff from the Multi Service Ward, or “MS5,” began preparations for 4OB to join them on the fifth floor where labor and delivery care will be provided beginning Sept. 20 through the completion of the renovation project.

“MS5 will take one side of the ward, and 4OB will take the other,” said Lt. Cmdr. Luis Acevedo, MS5 division officer. “I began merging my patients over the holiday weekend to the side from where we’ll work. This allows my staff to begin to adjust to the location while allowing 4OB to begin moving equipment and supplies to the area.”

MS5 cares for inpatients admitted for a variety of reasons, as well as out-patients who remain less than 24 hours. Acevedo said he chose the weekend to minimize patient impact due to an expected light patient load.

The 4OB staff will move equipment and staff between now and Sept. 20, depending on their patient load. The staff expects few if any changes from current patient care new moms receive on the fourth floor.

“The services will not be a whole lot different from what they are now,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kim James, a physician in the OB/GYN Department. “We’ll have the same number of rooms. We’ll just be on the fifth floor instead of the fourth. There might be a slightly higher chance of a roommate post-partum since we no longer have the option of sending overflow to the fifth floor.”

Like labor and delivery patients, MS5 patients will have a slightly better chance of a semi-private room while the two wards are co-located.

“Our rooms are designed for two patients, so there will never be more than two patients per room,” Acevedo said. “Still, we’ve had the luxury of a ward with 34 beds, allowing one patient per room. We will be cut to 18 beds after the move. Once we reach that capacity we’ll have to make arrangements to admit patients to other locations.”

When MS5 reaches capacity, those admitted for out-patient surgery will be moved to other locations such as the Ambulatory Care Unit, the Intensive Care Unit, or the Operating Room recovery area.

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