Minnie muffs, yacker tracker keeps babies healthy - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Minnie muffs, yacker tracker keeps babies healthy during NICU construction

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By Tayleigh Davis - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Neonatal intensive care unit at Phoebe Putney Hospital is getting a much needed upgrade. All the noise from the construction project isn't good for the tiny babies receiving lifesaving treatment.

Phoebe nurses are taking extraordinary measures to make sure the babies aren't disturbed. Phoebe bought hundreds of pairs of little yellow minnie muffs to protect the babies' hearing.

The earmuffs decrease noise by roughly seven decibels. The hospital is also using something called The Yacker Tracker, which is a green light system. When the light turns from green to yellow or red, it tells nurses levels are two loud. That's when they notify construction crews to keep it down. 

Catherine Elizabeth is just a few days old. Nurses at the NICU don't want construction on one side of the unit too loud for newborns. That's a good sign for her parents Beth and Chas Cannon.

"The precautionary measures they take makes my wife and I feel at ease," Cannon said.

Nurse Susan Banks places the multi-fit minnie muffs around a baby's ears.

"If it was going to red, we could put our microphone in the isolettes to see how high the decibels are for the patient," Banks said. "The construction crew would then maybe go to a different type of tool that didn't make as much noise to ensure the patients' comfort."

Like a hand saw instead of an electric one. The NICU unit is about 13-years old. Some much needed renovations include automatic sinks and paper towel dispensers to eliminate germs, and more narrow counter tops to create room for nurses to move around. They'll also have more room for computers.

Once crews finish up construction, all the babies in the unit including Catherine Elizabeth will move to the new section.

"She'll have to get used to her ear muffs but they look good on her," her dad added.

She'll keep them on until she leaves the NICU in a couple months. Construction on the current unit will wrap up in about a week. It will then move to the other half of the NICU where babies are now. The whole project should finish up in late April. The project cost roughly $80,000.

Before construction started, crews watched a developmental care video to see the effects of loud noise on a baby's development.


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