West Hills Hospital & Medical Center
West Hills Hospital & Medical Center is your community resource for better health. We have the capability and expertise to perform emergency open heart procedures, perform brain and spine surgery.

A Look at Our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

If a baby is born prematurely, or if a problem develops in the first hours of life, quick and capable medical care is essential. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at West Hills Hospital offers emergency care for newborns who need to stay at the hospital, either because they are premature or because they are experiencing unexpected health complications. Our 11-bed maternity hospital provides exceptional care to all of our patients, including specialized care for serious medical conditions.

Transportation to the NICU. When it comes to a newborn’s health, time is of the essence. Our healthcare staff stands by ready to transport a baby to the NICU at any time. Oxygen, feeding tubes, medications, and other resources will be available for care of your newborn. Neonatologists, nurses, nutritionists, and respiratory therapists will also be present at the NICU to ensure that your newborn receives treatment as needed.

Staying at the NICU. Every newborn’s medical needs are different, so your baby may need to remain at the NICU for days, weeks, or even months in order to ensure stable health. Tests will be taken as needed, and a specialized plan will be developed to treat your newborn. A trained occupational and physical therapist will also be on hand to ensure that your baby is getting the exercise and interaction necessary for good health.

Visiting the NICU. The experienced neonatologists who provide care at our NICU will be available to answer all of your questions about your newborn’s health. We understand that this can be a tense time for new parents, so our NICU staff members will do everything possible to educate you and put you at ease.

If you have any questions about the Level II-b NICU at West Hills Hospital, feel free to contact our medical team today at (818) 676-4321. Our NICU staff is dedicated to ensuring that all of our young patients receive the exceptional medical care they deserve. For additional information about our healthcare services, visit our website.

She's Our Pearl:

Devoted ED volunteer Pearl Essner, a long-time and beloved friend to patients and staff at West Hills Hospital, is Volunteer of the Month, according to Senator Fran Pavley who, each month, selects one volunteer whose efforts make a difference in our community.

Under the guise of a hospital tour, State Senatorial District 27 Field Representative Dusty Russell, came by West Hills Hospital recently to present the recognition to Pearl while members of the management team looked on.

“I always felt in my life I wanted to give back to the community in which I lived; I thought what better way to do it than to help in hospital?” Essner said. “This is where my heart is – this is my calling. I love volunteering and the fact that I’m being rewarded for it is over the top.”

Essner, who primarily volunteers for the Emergency Department as the hospital’s lead volunteer and volunteer trainer, also volunteers for the speaker series and in the Errand and Escort Office. Additionally, she serves on the Volunteer Advisory Committee and helps steer the course of volunteer appreciation events.

“Pearl has managed to master the trick of both being professional and compassionate and especially during times of crisis in the Emergency Department, Pearl is an essential part of the team,” said Stephanie Nelson, Volunteer Services Director.

West Hills Hospital has an excellent team of doctors and nurses, said Douglas Long, President and Chief Executive Officer. “But their time with each patient can become limited which is why volunteers like Pearl who stand in the gap deserve our thanks and recognition,” Long said. “Pearl is one in a million and we are so very lucky to have her support as a volunteer.”

Home Safety Tips to Minimize ER Visits

Home safety should be a priority for every family, especially for those with young children or elderly individuals. One way to minimize visits to the emergency care department is to take a tour of your home to assess potential hazards. Pay close attention to your kitchen and bathrooms, since accidents frequently occur in these places. If you need assistance with childproofing your home, consider talking to a pediatrician at a nearby maternity hospital. The maternity care providers of West Hills Hospital are dedicated to helping families stay healthy while living life to the fullest.

Kitchen Safety

With its sharp knives, hazardous cleaning chemicals, and plethora of small objects that a child may choke on, the kitchen is one of the most dangerous places in the home. If you have a small child, consider using a safety gate to block access to the kitchen entirely. As your child grows older, you’ll need to take additional safety precautions to minimize visits to the emergency care department. Any small objects that might be swallowed should be kept out of reach, including refrigerator magnets. Keep all bags, sharp objects, glass items, and hot items out of reach.

Bedroom Safety

Your pediatrician can advise you on keeping your child safe in his or her bedroom, such as by using a crib that meets safety standards and never putting babies to sleep with objects that may suffocate them. For adults and seniors, bedroom lighting often poses a safety hazard. Keep a flashlight or a lamp next to the bed to prevent falls during the night. Remove all tripping hazards from the floor.

Bathroom Safety

Parents of small children should keep certain items out of reach or locked away, such as medicines, mouthwash, perfume, and cleaning fluids, along with sharp objects such as razor blades. If the household includes an elderly person, modifying the bathroom can help prevent falls. For example, you could install grab bars in the shower and by the toilet, install a raised toilet seat, and place non-skid strips in the bathtub.

When you or a loved one does experience an emergency situation, the emergency care team at West Hills Hospital is here to help. Our comprehensive emergency care services include stroke care and heart care, along with our world-renowned Grossman Burn Center. Families throughout the West Hills area can direct non-emergency inquiries to a registered nurse at (818) 676-4321.

What to Expect When Your Baby Is in the NICU

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at a maternity hospital is a special nursery that provides specialized care for premature and micro-premature babies, and those who display other health problems within the first few days of life. It isn’t easy for parents to adjust to the fact that their children have serious medical conditions. However, parents can rest assured that at West Hills Hospital, a maternity hospital with a Level II NICU, their children will receive the specialized care they need. You can watch this video to become familiar with the environment of the NICU in our maternity hospital. It features West Hills Hospital staff, including a Registered Nurse (RN) whose triplets were placed in the NICU.

NICU Specialists

When your child is placed in the NICU, you can expect to interact with many different maternity hospital staff members. Neonatologists are physicians who specialize in the care of infants. The charge nurse is in charge of any particular shift, while the primary nurse is assigned specifically to your baby. Your baby may also be cared for by a nutritionist, physical therapist, and respiratory therapist.

NICU Treatments

Your baby will receive a personalized treatment plan in the maternity hospital, depending on his or her needs. Newborns may receive medications such as antibiotics and they may have a feeding tube. The neonatologist may order tests to monitor the baby’s condition. These might include X-rays, ultrasounds, blood tests, and urine tests.

NICU Interaction

Visitation in the NICU is highly restricted to prevent the spread of germs, which means other children such as siblings may not be able to visit the newborn. However, NICU staff strives to facilitate family bonding. You can ask the doctor if you can hold your baby. If not, you may be able to hold his or her hand, or stroke your baby’s head.

For the specialized care for the youngest of patients, West Hills Hospital features a Level II-b NICU. The NICU in our maternity hospital in West Hills is among the best-equipped in the area, with specially trained neonatologists who are dedicated to saving the lives of children and giving them the start in life that they deserve. If you have general questions about visiting the NICU at our maternity hospital, call (818) 676-4321 and speak with one of our registered nurses.

Taking a Closer Look at ER Wait Times

Although physicians do try to see patients as quickly as possible, emergency care departments are notorious for having long wait times. However, some hospitals, such as West Hills Hospital and other HCA-affiliated medical facilities, have implemented streamlined protocols to significantly reduce ER wait times. If you’re in need of emergency care in the West Hills area, our staff members will evaluate and treat you as quickly as possible.

Identifying Solutions to Long Wait Times

It’s commonly believed that long ER wait times are primarily caused by the use of the emergency care department by individuals with non-emergent medical conditions. However, boarding is actually the main cause of extremely long wait times. Boarding is the practice of admitting patients to the hospital despite the lack of available rooms, which means that these patients must wait on gurneys in the halls. This means that the emergency care staff is hard-pressed to provide care for additional patients who arrive in the waiting room. Some hospitals have eliminated this practice, and instead admit patients to different floors and departments.

Checking the Wait Times in Advance

If you’re concerned about ER wait times, you may be able to check them in advance. Some hospitals post regularly updated ER wait times on their website. Or, you may be able to get this information via text message. Bear in mind that these wait times represent an average.

Notifying the Staff About Symptom Changes

Once you’re at the emergency care department, you’ll be assessed by a triage nurse. The provider will evaluate the severity of your symptoms. At an ER, patients with the most serious medical conditions are seen first. If you have a less serious medical problem and you’re asked to wait, you should notify the nurse if your symptoms become worse or you develop new symptoms.

At West Hills Hospital, our emergency care staff is committed to maintaining ER wait times of equal to or below the national average, which means you can receive the care you need faster. If you’re experiencing a true medical emergency in West Hills, such as a heart attack, please call 911 immediately. Otherwise, you can reach our hospital at (818) 676-4321 for general information about our healthcare services, which include cancer care, maternity services, and spine care.

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