Appleton Medical Center Birth Center Transforms Patient Care

March 7, 2011

New Facility Puts Patients, Families at the Center with Collaborative Care

Appleton Medical Center’s new birth center is even more family-focused, thanks to the thoughtful insight of patients. The renewed Family Birth Center opens March 21, and ThedaCare will host an open house event on March 16, from 4:30 p.m.-7 p.m., to unveil the new units.

Kim Barnas, system vice president of ThedaCare, said the new birth center was designed with our patients in mind. “We had a series of interviews, surveys and events where patients were able to share what they wanted from their birthing experience,” Barnas said. “Each one of these women, husbands, families, all talked about what’s important to them, and we designed the new birth center around those patient attributes.”

One aspect of the new birth center that was very important to our families was more spacious, family-focused labor and delivery and postpartum rooms. The birth center now features eight labor and delivery rooms, located closer to the C-section rooms and set up for convenient collaborative care – with a medication dispenser, climate control, equipment and anything else a patient and the nurses may need, all in one area. The center also includes 15 larger postpartum rooms, two caesarean section rooms with a nearby family area, a large nursery in the center with viewing from three sides, and a developmental nursery for babies who need special care – attached to mom’s room.

“I’m excited about the new labor and delivery unit,” said Beth Helgerson, MD, OBGYN with Women’s Care of Wisconsin. “It promises to be a comfortable and updated space for women and families of this community.”

Jeffery Cherney, MD, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology for ThedaCare and an OBGYN with Women’s Health Specialists, said AMC’s 15 home-like postpartum rooms are very unique. Special features include a full-sized bed, pull-out sofa, flat screen TV, refrigerator, whirlpool tub and walk-in shower, in-room nurses supply cabinet, and infant-shaped sink for bathing baby.

The birth center’s larger labor and delivery rooms and spacious layout also make it safer and easier for nurses and physicians to perform critical care functions that may be needed.

“I have not seen these types of rooms in any other hospital that I’ve been to,” Dr. Cherney said. “They are in a quiet, private area, isolated from labor and delivery rooms. They’re like small apartments, and will provide a comfortable environment for the family while the parents begin bonding with their new baby.”

In 2008, Theda Clark Medical Center opened its new birth center. The unit, also designed with patient input, includes waiting rooms connecting two adjacent suites and 10 other rooms designed for expectant mothers hospitalized for care related to their pregnancy and for women who have delivered by cesarean section.

ThedaCare™ is a community health system consisting of five hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, New London Family Medical Center, Shawano Medical Center, and Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, and ThedaCare at Home. ThedaCare is the largest employer in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,175 employees. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

For more information, media may contact Megan Wilcox (, APR, corporate and public relations specialist for ThedaCare, at (920) 830-5847. For after hours or on weekends, please call (920) 729-3100 (Theda Clark Medical Center switchboard).