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Bayhealth says it may need to expand its brand new Perinatal Testing Unit

Bayhealth Hospital

Just a few months after Bayhealth Hospital built a new room for perinatal testing at its Kent County campus, officials say another addition may soon be needed.

Bayhealth’s Perinatal Testing Unit launched last December. Before, soon-to-be mothers who required additional fetal testing would be referred to a different department. Now, the ultrasound equipment used to perform biophysical profiles and non-stress tests are in the same room with a nurse trained to use both.  

Senior Nurse Manager Starr Lynch says this makes it easier on the patient.

“They don’t even have to move from their bed. They get to sit in the same spot. They don’t have to walk anywhere. We stop doing an ultrasound, and we hook them up to the machine and we take a good look at their baby,” said Lynch.

The testing room is staffed by one nurse everyday, and they try to fit in 12 patients per day. Lynch says there is not usually a waiting list to use the perinatal testing room, but it has been busy enough for the hospital to consider adding a second room and more staff.

“We’re now looking to expand this program—possibly extend the hours, maybe actually multiply and have two nurses every day. So I guess it’s not a bad thing that it’s working so well and become so popular that we’ve outgrown our space already,” said Lynch.

Bayhealth added three nurse positions in December to staff the Perinatal Testing Unit. In addition to operating the ultrasound and non-stress equipment, they also help educate mothers on improving their health and the health of their baby.

Delaware averages almost eight infant deaths per 1,000, compared to a national average of just under six.

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