Hoag to Open 12-Suite Maternity Unit in Irvine Where Women Can Go From Labor to Postpartum Care

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Hoag Hospital will begin construction soon at its Irvine campus of a 12-suite maternity unit, which is expected to be open to the community in the summer of 2020, hospital administrators announced Monday, March 5.

The 18,000-square-foot facility will go into an existing space that is currently being used for administrative offices. When the remodeling project is complete, it will house a dozen homey, 500-square-foot suites where women with low-risk pregnancies can go through labor and delivery and receive postpartum care.

Construction is slated to start in about six months.

The unique design is intended to make women feel at home during childbirth, said Dr. Allyson Brooks, chief quality officer at the Hoag Women’s Health Institute.

In a typical hospital, women deliver their children in one room and are transferred to another for recovery, she said.

“But here, you can get acclimated to your space and make it yours, which creates a home-like feeling,” said Brooks, Ginny Ueberroth Executive Medical Director Endowed Chair, Hoag Women’s Health Institute. “It feels more like a spa than being in a hospital.”

It also helps with continuity of care because women will have the same nursing staff throughout the process, which helps reduce anxiety, she said.

The addition of the maternity unit is part of a progression for Hoag Hospital Irvine which, in response to local demand, opened Hoag Health Center Irvine-Sand Canyon offering women’s health services in July 2016 and is expanding its current emergency room in August.

The high local demand for maternity services has been obvious, said Marcy Brown, vice president of Hoag Hospital Irvine. Also, in 2017, more than 6,800 babies were delivered at Hoag’s Newport Beach campus, and 34 percent of the new mothers were from the greater Irvine area, she said.

Hoag’s Sue and Bill Gross Women’s Pavilion in Newport Beach is known for its ocean-view postpartum rooms. Though the Irvine facility can’t compete with the outdoor scenery, it will have desirable, luxurious amenities, Brown said.

The suites will open up to a “labor garden” where women can walk around, shielded by a privacy wall.

The rooms will have a queen-size bed instead of the smaller twin-size. There will be a separate area where family members can gather around and have a cup of tea or coffee as they visit the baby.

The plans for the suites are still fluid as hospital administrators conduct focus groups to learn what millennial women want.

“We’re learning a lot of things about what is important to young women,” Brown said. For example, they learned millennial women want a phone charger closer to their beds than a nurse call button because they want to be connected to social media.

In addition to the maternity services, the Irvine campus will offer a host of support services, from childbirth and child safety classes to similar learning sessions for siblings and grandparents.

The hospital also makes a special effort to be culturally sensitive to clients, many of whom are of Chinese or Middle Eastern origin, Brown said.

For example, she said, hospital administrators decided not to build a fourth floor because the number four is considered unlucky in Chinese culture because it is nearly homophonous to the word “death.”

Staff members also use online translation services that allow them to reach a translator around the clock with a Skype call.

The rooms will have no additional cost and should be covered by most health insurance policies, Brown said. The only catch is that this birthing unit will only receive women who are “low-risk.” That means patients who have known complications such as placental issues or breech births, or are being scheduled for a C-section, won’t be admitted to the unit.

Brooks says though Hoag delivers enough children each day to fill a kindergarten class, the expansion of maternity services to Irvine should not be interpreted as an “overflow.”

“This is a booming, growing, young community,” she said. “Residents of this community want to get their health care in the community where they live, when possible.”

To view the original Orange County Register article, please click here.