Avera Medical Minute: Campaign launched for remodel of women’s center at Avera St. Luke’s

Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 8:00 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A new campaign has launched in Aberdeen to help support the remodeling of the women’s center at Avera St. Luke’s.

The current women’s center hasn’t changed much since 2006. Sonya Nilsson remembers the first time she visited, she had just given birth at the old location.

“When we went into the room, the unit looked normal. Had my daughter and when we came back out, everything was cleared out. The computers, the pictures off the walls, everything had been taken out in that time that I was giving birth and they had moved everything to the new unit,” said Nilsson.

She spent the rest of her stay in the new unit where she got to test out all the new upgrades and technology.

“The rooms seemed so spacious and there were big windows. Everything like that and Ava’s 15, So that, was 15 years ago. Seems like yesterday, but it was 15 years ago. And so even now when I come here now, it looks dated now as opposed to then,” said Nilsson.

The Avera Foundation has launched the campaign, “It Starts With Us” to raise funds for an upgrade.

“This campaign is going to allow for these extra touches that we really deserve, the staff deserves it, but most importantly our patients do,” said Amy Blackstone, Avera Foundation Regional Philanthropy Director.

“They call it ‘Birthplace’. So we really want to make sure that we are driving home that it’s going to be the future look of the women’s center at Avera St. Luke’s,” she added.

Proposed changes include a new welcome center. As well as an education center with guidance and programs for new moms.

Also, a remodeled nursery and eight luxury suites for mom, baby, and extended family to rest. And a technologically advanced operating room.

“Having something like this on the floor in the time of an emergency can be the difference between life and death and not having to wait and having a team right on-site makes all the difference in the world for that mom and that baby,” said Blackstone.

The plan also includes the addition of an angel suit, a private area for families who may need to grieve.

“Unfortunately, you do deal with times when there are problems and perhaps the child does not get to go home with the family. So we want to make sure we have the proper, quiet, healing consideration space,” said Blackstone.

Another goal is to upgrade telemedicine and technology services to help limit outpatient transfers to other cities like Sioux Falls.

“We do send patients down to the NICU unit and our hope is that by providing some of these technology upgrades that that number will go down and families can stay here, be with loved ones and take their child home when they are ready,” said Blackstone.

The staff looks forward to the changes.

“It’s just such a nice feeling to feel like we’re investing in a community positive experience for one of the best times in people’s lives, giving birth,” said Dr. Christine Stehly, Avera St. Luke’s OB-GYN.

If you’re interested in helping or supporting the campaign you can reach out to the Avera Foundation in Aberdeen by calling 605-622-5758 or email Amy.Blackstone@Avera.org.

For more information on the “It Starts With Us” campaign head to Avera.org.

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