ELLSWORTH — A new and state-of-the-art birthing center at Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital will be the major part of planned improvements at the campus in 2022 and bring the OB/GYN unit next to the operating rooms.
The relocation was originally planned during a 2010 remodel that added the current emergency department, Maine Coast President John Ronan said. “It just never happened.”
The newly launched plan is aimed at improving the experience for expecting and new mothers. One way the new center will accomplish this is individual patient rooms — a change Maine Coast plans to bring throughout the hospital.
“Transitioning to mostly private rooms for our patients and their families has been a change I have wanted to make for several years,” Ronan said.
The birthing patient rooms are planned as all-inclusive: from labor to delivery to aftercare for the mother. In addition, being next door to the operating rooms allows for a quicker transport in the case of a caesarean section or other surgical procedure as “a safety procedure,” said Dr. Sheena Whittaker, Maine Coast Hospital senior physician executive. The move will bring all OB/GYN care and the nursery one floor down from where it currently is located on the third floor. The former OB/GYN unit will be converted to medical surgical beds.
Construction is planned for summer of 2022. The cost of the new birthing center is $5 million to $6 million, Ronan said. About 250 babies are delivered at Maine Coast Hospital each year.