Alexian Brothers opens $125 million Women & Children's Hospital outside of Chicago

May 1, 2013


St. Alexius Medical Center opened its new Alexian Brothers Women & Children's Hospital on April 6 at its Hoffman Estates, Ill., campus, located about 30 miles northwest of Chicago. The $125 million, 6-story, 210,000-square-foot hospital and outpatient facility connects to the medical center. It brings together the medical center's obstetrics, neonatal and pediatric care under one roof, providing improved access to pediatric and obstetric specialists and subspecialists.

The 115-bed hospital has 32 private suites in its mother and baby unit and an 18-bed well baby nursery. Alexian Brothers said the hospital is "the northwest region's destination for high risk pregnancy and delivery" and the new facility includes eight rooms designed for patients who require pre-delivery monitoring; a 16 bed, Level III neonatal intensive care unit, and a 10-bed NICU step down unit. A neonatal wrap-around clinic will provide outpatient follow-up care for babies discharged from the NICU for up to 18 months, to check that they're meeting developmental and medical milestones and to link them to treatments, as needed.

The hospital has only 20 general pediatric beds, and another eight pediatric intensive care beds, all housed in private suites with sleep accommodations for parents. Mark Frey, chief executive of the Alexian Brothers Health System, said that fewer kids with general pediatric needs are ending up in the hospital than in years past. He explained that immunization programs, better preventive care and improved management of chronic conditions, such as juvenile onset diabetes or asthma, have resulted in the need for fewer pediatric beds in general hospitals.

"I think, by and large, you've seen greater success (in preventing hospitalizations) because of nurse navigators and using mid-level practitioners to help support the physicians in managing these chronic diseases," he said. "You have less generic need for community pediatric beds, and you have greater need for more intensive care beds, more surgical competencies, more procedural competencies; and, when you have a specialty hospital, you draw more specialists. You draw greater reputation; you get better outcomes, and that has a tendency to help enhance all aspects of the system."

The hospital will offer a number of specialty outpatient centers, including the Center for the Pediatric Brain, where neurologists and others will monitor and treat children with epilepsy, and headache disorders, providing neuropsychological evaluations and more.

The hospital's concussion clinic will evaluate and treat mild pediatric head trauma. Frey said families with young athletes are learning more about the need to have a child with a potential concussion get evaluated, diagnosed and receive proper treatment.

With nearly one in five youth between the ages of 6 and 19 considered obese, the hospital will continue its diabetes clinic, located on an Alexian Brothers Medical Center sister campus at Oak Grove Village. Frey said, "A significant goal is to increase the access for poor and vulnerable children who have diabetes to first-rate endocrinologists, who can not only help them medically, but can work with their families around things like weight loss and diet and making sure they're appropriately cared for."

Frey pointed to design elements like artwork done by children and area artists that make the new hospital welcoming to the young and their families. Another example: the technology in patients' rooms is positioned to allow nurses to maintain eye contact with their patients as they record data.

Joan Cappelletti, St. Alexius Medical Center's executive director of nursing, said nursing staff and physicians were involved in the design of the Women & Children's Hospital rooms. She said a family advisory committee also provided planning input. Hospital rooms have been designed so that a parent or guardian can comfortably stay with a child, resting on sleeper couches, and storing personal items in lockable cabinets.

"The more involved and more comfortable the families are, the easier it is for us to care for their child," Cappelletti said.


Copyright © 2013 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.

Copyright © 2013 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.