Sanford Health – Bismarck is expanding its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Sanford Vice-President Dr. Craig Lambrecht made the announcement. He said the unit will go from 12 to 24 beds – and it will include 18 private rooms. It will be on the sixth floor of Sanford’s Bismarck hospital.
Lambrecht said one of the factors in making this expansion is a growing number of babies affected by opioids and methamphetamines.
"These babies come in premature," Lambercht said. "They come in with complexities -- they're just very irritable, and they're difficult to take care of."
Lambrecht said even babies who go to term and are affected by these drugs are staying in the NICU longer.
"Methamphetamine withdrawal will tug at your heartstrings," Labrrecht said. "It just takes a while."
To make room, rehabilitation services are being moved out of the hospital – and into other facilities. Lambrecht said rehab is moving away from in-patient to out-patient.
The expanded NICU will open in the summer of 2019.