It’s only a short, five-minute walk from the old to the new neonatal intensive care unit at Sisters Hospital. But in size, design and accommodations, the two facilities look much farther away from each other. Thirty-six babies, including

three sets of triplets, made the trip in their isolettes in a move Tuesday that was anticipated to last most of the work day, with much of the time spent situating the young patients in their new digs. An $8.8 million project doubled the number of bassinets to 40- created more family-friendly areas, including “parents-only” spaces- and nearly tripled the amount of floor space. The rooms contain such aesthetic touches as lighting and sound controls, infant bathing sinks, and refrigeration units for breast milk and formula. The unit, mirroring a trend at other NICUs, uses single rooms for newborns instead of larger pods, a change to encourage more skin-to-skin contact between baby and mother. As a designated Level 3 NICU, the facility is staffed and equipped to provide specialized care for premature infants as young as 23 weeks and full-term babies with special needs. — Henry L. Davis, News Medical Reporter