Maximizing privacy and space at NorthBay Health NICU | Silentia

Maximizing privacy and space at NorthBay Health NICU

Two Silentia folding screens at NorthBay Fairfield NICU

Silentia privacy screens revolutionize patient privacy with a patented screen system made with durable, easy-to-clean materials. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at NorthBay Health Medical Center implemented the Silentia screen system in 2015 to transform patient care and continues to see the benefits today.

Clean privacy matters

Providing an adequate physical privacy barrier for patients is important for patient dignity and keeping sensitive information secure, while promoting infection prevention. Infection prevention and control is perhaps the most important and often overlooked aspect of patient privacy in that it deals with the health and wellness of patients, healthcare workers, and visitors.

Silentia privacy screens are uniquely designed to help prevent healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) that can be serious, even life-threatening, and can prolong hospital stays and increase healthcare costs. By utilizing hard surface privacy screens, healthcare facilities can reduce Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs) and keep their patients healthy, thereby making a significant difference in the fight against infection.

NorthBay Fairfield facility

NorthBay Health NICU

NorthBay Health Medical Center is a 154-bed acute care hospital located in Fairfield, California. Combined with its 50-bed sister NorthBay Health VacaValley Hospital in Vacaville, NorthBay experiences roughly 50,000 patient days, annually. NorthBay’s Level III NICU, in Fairfield, provides critical care for babies born prematurely or with specific medical conditions that require special care. The department consists of a large open room with individual incubator bays.

We spoke with Heather Troutt, Director of Women’s and Children’s Services, to understand the challenges she and her NICU team face and their journey to implement Silentia screens in the department.


Small space, big challenges

The primary challenge in the NICU was providing adequate privacy and care for patients, especially during kangaroo care and breastfeeding, while working in a relatively small space.

“We are big on decluttering the space. We are a small NICU, so space is a commodity,” said Troutt.

Incubator and Silentia screen in NorthBay Fairfield NICU

The department was originally outfitted with textile screens mounted on rolling bases, but they were difficult to clean. They tried vinyl screens, but the screens could not be curved around a chair or incubator for more complete privacy; in addition, their base was too big and caused a tripping hazard, and they also were difficult to clean.

With the experience and knowledge of privacy options that were not working, the team determined they needed a solution that was easy to clean, easy to move, did not block monitors, could fit around the counters and equipment, and saved space.

Silentia folding screen wrapped in NorthBay Health NICU

Discovering Silentia screens

Silentia screens were first introduced as a possible solution to NorthBay by an internal team of nurses and other staff, called the SMART committee, responsible for finding and evaluating new products.

In 2014, the SMART team, which included Jana Parkinson, a NICU nurse, identified the need for improved privacy and infection control for their patients. Within a year, NorthBay became one of the United States’ earliest adopters of Silentia screens.

Wall-mounted folding screen at NorthBay Fairfield NICU

In 2015, the decision was made to install a set of mounted and mobile Silentia screens throughout the NICU and Labor and Delivery (L&D) units. Large, 15-panel wall rail-mounted screens were installed between each incubator bay, and a set of mobile folding screens was used for areas with no rail system.

The design of Silentia screens—hard surfaces, easy mobility, a low profile, and minimal footprint—inherently addressed the challenges of maximizing privacy and ease without impeding workflows.
Further supporting existing workflows, the wall rail-mounted screens were designed with custom extensions and clamps that mounted the screens beyond countertops used by nursing staff.

Photo 1/3: Closed folding privacy screen showing upper and lower clamp mounts.

Closed Silentia folding screen with upper and lower clamps

Photo 2/3: Upper extension and clamp mount.

Upper extension clamp mount on Silentia folding screen

Photo 3/3: Lower extension and clamp mount.

Lower extension clamp mount on Silentia folding screen

Hands-on service

A collaborative approach between Silentia and the NICU team allowed for easy implementation and training to properly integrate the device into the workflow. Silentia staff provided a walkthrough of operating and cleaning the screens to maintain their performance and longevity.

According to Troutt, good customer service played a big role in decision-making. “Working with the same service rep after years speaks volumes. She knows our story, our team, our products, and their use.”

As the nurses became comfortable with using the screens, their flexibility and versatility meant they were able to change the space around until the flow was determined. Seeing how easy the screens were to clean meant the nurses could add cleaning and sanitizing to their workflows instead of requiring the help of Environmental Services (EVS).

“I’m surprised at how well they have held up,” said Troutt. Silentia privacy screens have a proven lifetime of more than 10 years, and the screens installed at the NorthBay NICU are soon approaching a decade of service in the field with only minor service and repairs.

Flexibility and versatility

At Silentia, we understand the demands of modern healthcare, which is why the Silentia screen system is flexible and versatile to address a broad range of challenges.

The Silentia screen system offers healthcare teams improved cleanliness and efficiency when treating and caring for patients. It supports better infection control, reduces long-term resource waste, and contributes to better patient outcomes.

In our experience, the privacy, hygiene, and workflow challenges that the NorthBay NICU faces exist in hospitals across the country. Almost a decade ago, Northbay implemented Silentia privacy screens, an investment in better patient care, a better work environment, and long-term clean patient privacy that can be realized in any healthcare environment.

Contact us to learn more about this project and our other NICU privacy solutions!

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