Written by Desirae Ofori.
Central Florida is home to many hospitals, yet no two are alike. For those of us who live in Polk County (nestled in between the major cities of Tampa and Orlando), I’ve personally known many women who have traveled 30 minutes to an hour out of Polk County to receive care for themselves and their children. During my first pregnancy, I chose to deliver at our local hospital, Lakeland Regional Health (LRH) due to convenience and proximity. Admittedly, I was nervous of the experience I would have due to the mixed reviews from my peers. I just hoped and prayed for the best – and lucky for me, we had a very positive birth and recovery experience.
In early 2017 I learned that LRH was constructing a brand new building dedicated to serving Women and Children. As photos and tidbits began to surface of what the community could expect, I became very excited and hopeful that their new services and care would bring to Lakeland, what so many other women skipped town to seek with neighboring hospitals.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been fortunate to sit down and have honest conversations with Jennifer Audette of LRH Public Relations and Joyce Arand the Associate Vice President of Women and Children Services on what the new Pavilion had to offer. I was even able to take a private tour of the beautiful facility. It is clear that LRH has been dedicated to create a facility that is up to date with state of the art medical technology, increased range of services and higher level of care. Yet, even more important to me, is that through conversations and my visits, there is a strong desire to create a more peaceful, family friendly, nurturing environment and experience for patients. Every detail, even down to the décor and lighting, is geared towards a spa-like, peaceful experience to promote healing and wellness.
During our recent Labor and Delivery Tour, my husband and I were both equally impressed of the strives towards a holistic and more natural approach to the birth process and these practices being implemented as part of LRH new standard level of care. Examples include delayed cord clamping, respect of the “Golden Hour”, improved lactation support and additional lactation training of the nurses, delayed newborn baths for the preservation of vernix on baby’s skin, and the introduction of hydrotherapy, amongst many other things.
For once I do not feel as though I am completely missing out of not having a successful natural birth at a birth center or home birth. I can have confidence of having a successful natural Hospital birth at my local Hospital, in my County.
So What Can I Expect??
So, what can you expect to find in the Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children? Below is a short list of some of the many services and amenities included in this 8 story building. I’ve also included some “Patient Friendly Perks” and a few reviews from local moms who’ve recently visited the Pavilion for care.
- Children’s Emergency Department with a clearly designated entrance and spacious lobby.
- 33 Emergency Exam Rooms
- Pediatric Floor including 30 private rooms for overnight stay and 12 private Pediatric Intensive Care rooms.
- Pediatric Specialty Care provided by Nemours Children’s Health System.
Patient Friendly Perks
- Emergency Room Lobby includes a child friendly theme and décor with media and interactive games for children.
- The Private Pediatric rooms include the option for access between two rooms, in case a family has more than one child admitted.
- Admitted children have access to the Child Life Specialists who are dedicated and trained to interact with the children and promote additional healing through activities.
- Designated Play Room on the Pediatric floor filled with games, media, arts and crafts and Volunteers to supervise and facilitate activities for the younger children.
- Wagons to transport the children for a fun ride to and from their rooms, instead of wheelchairs when appropriate.
- Sofas that include a pull out bed to allow parents to sleep comfortably throughout their child’s stay.
Local Mom Review
Destinee – “Fantastic Staff! It was one of the best hospital visits I have had with my two year old. The new building is very open, bright, and kid friendly.”
Stefanie – “It was a fast check-in and much smoother process. I liked the bedside radiology, so my daughter didn’t have to be transported to X-ray. It was efficient and clean, we had a great experience overall.”
Mother and Baby
- 17 Private Labor and Delivery Suites.
- 32 Mother and Baby Private Rooms for rest and recovery after delivery.
- 4 Operating Suites for C-sections and Gynecology Surgeries.
- Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the highest level in Polk County. Enables care for infants 1,000 grams or less with advanced care.
- High Risk Pregnancy care under the Center for Fetal Care for before, during and after birth.
Patient Friendly Perks
- NICU rooms include adjoining rooms for easy access of families with more than one baby on the unit.
- Special gift boxes with goodies and keepsake for Mom and Baby.
- Walk-in, jetted tubs in each Labor and Delivery suite for Hydrotherapy as an option for natural pain relief.
- Squatting Bars, Birthing Balls, and other laboring tools that provide the laboring Mom with more options to labor and deliver more comfortably.
- Mobile Mother and Baby monitoring, to encourage Mother’s to move around the room and stay active out of bed during labor as they desire.
- All of the suites (Labor and Delivery, Mother and Baby Unit, and NICU) have Sofas with pull out beds that allow room for parents and family to sleep over and rest during the patients stay.
- Donor Breast Milk from a qualified Breast Milk Bank is now available to breastfeeding Mothers as deemed medically. Donor milk is for infants in the NICU and Mothers undergoing surgical procedures.
Local Mom Review
Morgan – “I’ve had four babies at Lakeland Regional, and had the blessing of having my 4th at the new facility. The helpful staff was warm and friendly as always, the rooms are spacious, the beautiful windows are very large, and the lake view from my mom and baby unit made being inside quite enjoyable!”
Tiffany – “I am so grateful to have been able to deliver within Lakeland Regional’s new wing for the birth of my second son, 5 weeks ago. The building and rooms were both beautiful and comfortable, making our time there more enjoyable and allowing my husband and I to relax and focus on the important task of loving on our newborn. Having delivered our first son years earlier at the previous Mother/Baby Unit, the difference between both experiences were night and day.
The Staff and overall approach to delivery this time around seemed much more family friendly- allowing the young siblings to be more present within the wing, allowing family members with children to visit when was desirable, and staff doing their best to listen and accommodate to your requests. All of this made our short stay at the hospital peaceful and (maybe even a little) enjoyable.
There is still room for improvement – like encouraging the nurses and doctors to work more collaboratively so that they provided care at more common times. Instead of frequent and varied interruptions throughout the evening, when exhausted Mommy and sleepy newborn baby are adjusting to their new reality. Having the care team visit during common blocks of time would be a huge improvement in quality care towards promoting early healthy bonding between Mommy and Baby, and encourage more focused rest and recovery.
Overall, our experience was so much better this second time around. The major upgrade in facilities was icing on the cake, but the noticeable improvement in staff’s approach to family and birth in general was everything.” – Tiffany
Well that’s all for now folks! As I mentioned before, I look forward to delivering within the next few days or so at this beautiful new pavilion. I am sure as time goes on (like with any new project) there are more kinks to be worked out, improvements, and changes to come – however, I am confident it is all for the better not only for the hospital but for our community as well.
For a more in depth look at all the services and amenities housed at the Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion please visit Lakeland Regional Health’s website www.mylrh.org or visit this direct link Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children
For a virtual tour or to schedule a labor and delivery tour visit Tour the Pavilion