While renovations are ongoing, some of the newly designed rooms on the maternity wing at LewisGale Medical Center in Salem are already being used.
Now several of the new rooms are already being used, LewisGale spokeswoman Joy Sutton told me recently.
One room, which is operational, has a labor tub for women to use to help control pain during labor, Sutton said.
Sutton said the renovations will be completed by August. At that time the hospital will have nine rooms that will be used for labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum, meaning the mother child will not have to switch rooms. Eight other rooms will be postpartum rooms, and will be used when the hospital needs the space to meet the labor and delivery needs of other women.
The renovations at LewisGale come as several rural area maternity wings have closed recently, including the latest at Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital.
The renovation also coincides with LewisGale’s desire to being operating a neonatal intensive care unit. Last year LewisGale sought state permission to open an eight-bed NICU to treat babies born with complications such as those who are born prematurely.
The state has until September to grant or deny LewisGale’s request, which is made through the Virginia Department of Health’s certificate of public need process.
Sutton said if approved, the hospital would be ready to begin renovations for the NICU.