04 Aug Glens Falls Hospital’s Snuggery scheduled for a facelift
It’s exciting news: Glens Falls Hospital is planning a $5 million renovation of the Snuggery with a $250,000 donation from the David S. and Janet R. Sheridan Foundation along with $250,000 from Stewart’s Shops and the Dake family, $100,000 from The Sandy Hill Foundation and other gifts.
My son Henry was born there via C-section, and we had a wonderful experience, in no small part due to an awesome nurse named Kat Gow who conducted our childbirthing class and made special arrangements to be on duty when we asked her to. The Snuggery classes, C-section and recovery experience was a good one for us, and when we drive by the hospital, we tell Henry that’s where he was born. It’s where his dad Cory was born, too.
It’s long been time for an upgrade to the 31-year-old unit, though. Their press release says that a complete remodeling of all 22 patient rooms is coming, with aesthetic improvements, individual room temperature controls, and redesigns to better accommodate today’s technology and equipment, particularly those needed in emergency situations.
The renderings that accompany the press release show a fresh, clean patient room, which is a relief since I saw one remodeled room that was blood red, with a Georgia O’Keeffe-esque design on the wall; an strange choice for a place engineered to welcome a newborn baby into the world. I know I’d want a relaxing atmosphere, myself. I’ve heard that the dated pink floral wallpaper was meant to invoke the comforts of home at the time. It’s just that floral wallpaper isn’t how people decorate these days.
Press materials say that additional “enhancements” include an updated color scheme, energy efficient lighting, new flooring, window treatments and cabinetry, new neonatal technology and improved spatial flow for improved patient care for both mother and babies.
Another much-needed renovation will be to the family waiting area. Previously consisting of something like seven chairs, a TV and a couple of magazines in about 80 square feet, the new one “will provide new furniture in a larger, more comfortable space for family members.”
I asked about inconveniences to patients, knowing a few expecting mothers would be wondering. Kathleen Schechner, Communications Specialist, says, “patients are expected to experience minimal inconveniences as only three to four rooms will be renovated at a time, with construction ceasing every evening in order to provide appropriate rest periods for mothers and babies.” Work begins in early September, and will be done in stages to minimize disruption to patients and staff. It is expected to take approximately one year to complete.
I asked about whether the renovations impacted Glens Falls Hospital’s policy of not offering VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean) and they said the policy of no VBACs holds, which is a darn shame. My understanding is that the policy is in place due to lack of an in-house anesthesiologist there 24/7. We had our second child at Bellevue Hospital in Niskayuna due to this, and really would have loved to have two babies born in Glens Falls. I had also asked about whether more tub rooms would be available but didn’t get an answer.
Press materials add, “With the opening of The Snuggery in 1985, Glens Falls Hospital became one of the first hospitals east of the Mississippi to offer single-room Labor-Delivery-Recovery-Postpartum care. Gone were the days when a woman went through labor in one room, moved to a delivery room for the birth, moved on to a recovery room and then to her regular inpatient hospital room. At The Snuggery, then as now, a woman and her family experience all phases of the birthing process in one private hospital room.”
I’ll add that I think this is awesome, and I wish that I could have done this at Bellevue. There, you’re on a completely different floor when you’re giving birth, and wheeled upstairs a few hours afterward. I would have loved to stay in the same room, cuddling for as long as I wanted, before cleaning up and all. That moment wasn’t necessarily rushed, but it would have been nice to end the first snuggle on my own terms instead of it being “time to go.” I’m so glad the Snuggery does this.
The press release continues, “The Snuggery also practices family-centered care in a wide variety of other ways, including Mother-Baby Nursing, in which the RN who accompanies the family through the labor and delivery processes continues to care for both mom and baby after the birth. The Snuggery staff also works closely with expectant parents and their obstetrician or midwife months in advance of the special day to develop a personalized Birth Plan that meets the parents’ individual needs and desires. Education and support classes for new parents — and siblings — before and after the birth is another key part of The Snuggery experience.”
We took just about every class they had, and even took the Childbirthing one twice, once for each of our pregnancies. They were excellent. What a jewel we have in the Snuggery. I remember not wanting to come home after our three-day stay when Henry was born. It was so comforting to have the kind staff there to help me with everything. They were fantastic. We even went back to talk to the lactation consultant (I think her name was Erin) after being discharged, because we were having trouble with Henry’s latch. It was reassuring to have the resources I needed and made all the difference to our family. I’m only sad that I won’t get to experience the improvements from a mother’s perspective, considering the no-VBAC policy — not to mention my husband’s resistance to trying for a third child!
Additional planned renovations include a relocation and expansion of the special care nursery (to be named for Mr. and Mrs. Sheridan), the creation of a new nurses station, reconfiguration of the unit’s hallways to improve traffic flow and to provide easier, faster travel between patient rooms and the Snuggery operating rooms for emergency cesarean sections, and a renovated elevator lobby, which will be named for Stewart’s Shops and the Dake family.
Donations for the future of the Snuggery can be made at www.glensfallshospital.com or by sending a check to the Glens Falls Hospital Foundation, 126 South Street, Glens Falls, NY 12801, Attn: The Snuggery. Donor recognition opportunities are available for this project, which aims to raise $1.25 million in donations, of which it has raised $600,000 so far. Call the Glens Falls Hospital Foundation at (518) 926-5960.