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Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital begins construction of all-new family birthing center to open Fall 2019

December 18, 2018

Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital held a “wall breaking” and reception event on Monday to signify the start of construction of an all-new family birthing center, targeted to be complete in the fall of 2019.

Kicking off the event was longtime local obstetrician, Dr. Margaret Gustafson, who had the honor of taking a sledgehammer and breaking through a wall on the current birthing center unit. The new family birthing center, made possible with financial assistance from many community donors, will be located where the current unit is on the second floor of the Ludington hospital.

“I’ve waited a long time to do this!” said Gustafson, who has been in obstetrics and gynecology practice in Ludington for 31 years. Over that timeframe, she has seen several facelifts for the Family Birthing Center, but since the unit is part of the original 51-year-old construction of the hospital, those renovations were more aesthetic in nature.

The renovations will necessitate a complete demolition of the current facility and all-new construction of a new family birthing center, all while maintaining a comprehensive security system for mothers and babies. While the new facility will not add significant square footage or number of rooms, it will add private bathrooms to each patient room, and make the existing space more efficient for nursing and education care processes. When completed, the Center will have five post-partum patient rooms, three labor, delivery and recovery rooms—two with whirlpool tubs—and improved heating and cooling systems.

“What we’re doing today is beginning a process of work that will transform the inpatient areas of our facility,” said Randy Kelley, Spectrum Health northwest market leader and president of Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital. “We ask for patience as we go through the construction phase so that we can achieve our end goal of an all-new, state-of-the-art Center that will serve patients and families for years to come.

“We want our new family birthing center to feel like home to our prospective parents as they excitedly prepare for the most momentous event of their lives — the birth of their child. We will make it a place in which they are properly cared for, a place at which they feel at home — complete with all of the comforts and amenities they need — and a place they will remember and recommend and want to return to for their subsequent children.

“We’re able to do this through the generosity of many hospital employees and community members who have helped to fund this project,” said Kelley. “Our sincere thanks today go out to Lee and Joan Schoenherr, FloraCraft Company, West Shore Bank, Dr. Nizar and Zelal Umran, Dr. Bret and Tara Autrey, the volunteers of Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital, Mike and Jean Dery, and the many others who contributed financially. We know that our tiniest and most vulnerable patients—as well as their parents and families—thank you too.”

Kate Gosselin, chief nursing officer at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital, outlined for those gathered at the event the process of redesigning the family birthing center to ensure it meets parents’ expectations as well as employee needs for efficient and effective care processes.

“This is a project that will bring a new environment of care and experience for our obstetric patients and their families,” Gosselin stated. “The new family birthing center has been a labor of love and innovation. The OB project team has worked collaboratively to design a new physical space that will offer exceptional amenities, efficient work flows for our staff, and most of all innovative family centered care to our community. Although our journey to changing our physical space is just beginning, we have been in the planning stages for months now. The discussions around this OB transformation have been both vigorous and inspiring. I can definitively say we have identified and plan to adopt the best care practices for our entire OB population and the community.

“We’ll be offering exceptional amenities such as private in-room bathrooms, whirlpool tubs for use during labor for comfort and pain management, specially designed in-room sinks in which parents can bath their infants, a broader array of classes and education for new parents, an enhanced security system and more. We want parents involved in their care and to empower them with knowledge and competence to leave the hospital setting ready and able to care for their infant as it grows and develops. We really see our role as impacting not only the birth and initial care of each newborn but impacting each baby’s lifetime. That’s an amazing privilege for our nurses and an excellent partnership between our hospital and community.”

The new family birthing center at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital is being built by The Christman Company. Tower Pinkster is the architectural firm. The project is slated to be completed in Fall 2019.

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