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Parents Select St. Joseph’s Health Hospital as ‘Guardian’ of Premature Babies

St. Joseph’s Health Hospital receives Excellence Award for Neonatal Intensive Care Patient Experience for the second year in a row.

Syracuse, NY (November 12, 2018) – St. Joseph’s Health Hospital has been named a 2018 Guardian of Excellence AwardSM winner for Neonatal Intensive Care Patient Experience by Press Ganey® for the second year in a row. The Guardian of Excellence Award recognizes top-performing health care organizations that have consistently achieved the 95th percentile or above in their performance.

The Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award is a nationally-recognized symbol of achievement in health care. Presented annually, the award honors clients who consistently sustained performance in the top 5% of all Press Ganey clients for each reporting period during the course of one year.

Only three hospitals across the country received the Neonatal Intensive Care Patient Experience Guardian of Excellence award (including St. Joseph’s Health), out of more than 200 hospitals that are surveyed nationwide. St. Joseph’s Health is the only hospital in New York State to receive the Guardian of Excellence award for NICU Patient Experience from Press Ganey this year.

“What makes this award truly special is that it is awarded based on the feedback from actual NICU parents,” said Dr. Jonathan Chai, pediatrician for St. Joseph’s Health. “St. Joseph’s has invested significant resources into our NICU to ensure the highest-quality care and patient experience for our tiniest patients and their families. Recognition like this speaks to the heart. It is reassuring to know that our NICU families are recognize our commitment to them at such a critical time and trust us to provide excellent health care.”

St. Joseph’s Health Hospital NICU cares for sick or premature infants from 16 Central New York counties, and families are grateful to have access to their Level III facility. One of those grateful patients is Ashley Schaefer of Lyons Falls, mother of twin boys Corbin and Collin, born via cesarean section at 33 weeks and three days in October 2017.

“It was a surprise when my water broke,” said Schaefer. “I was transferred by ambulance to St. Joseph’s. For the health of the boys and my own, they were delivered by C-section, and the twins stayed in the NICU for about three weeks. My husband visited as often as he could but we also had a four year at home so it was a stressful time all around.”

Collin and Corbin Schaefer in St. Joseph’s Health NICU in 2017
Photo courtesy of Ashley Schaefer

Schaefer, who was hospitalized as well due to preeclampsia, is thankful for St. Joseph’s Health’s NICU team for their commitment to transparency, communication and their understanding of the unique needs that families have under the circumstances.

“They [NICU team] are so warm and caring, and they take the time to explain information to you which is so important given the severity of what is happening. Being invited to the care team meetings was very helpful to understand exactly what was going on and the ‘whys’ behind the care plan,” said Schaefer. “With the support of the staff we were able to be a part of the twins’ firsts – diaper changes and baths. They also take the time to include parents in the decision making process. As much as you want to be involved you are allowed to be, that means a lot!”

The Schaefers were so moved by the care Ashley and the twins received, that in lieu of first birthday gifts for the boys, they asked for gifts that could be donated to St. Joseph’s Health NICU to help future patients and families in need of such acute care. On October 27, the family presented employees with a basket of gifts and a monetary donation.

“Looking back on the care we received from the NICU team and all they’d done for us during that time, we wanted to give back. The St. Joseph’s NICU nurses and physicians are our heroes in disguise. Our boys would not be here without them,” said Schaefer.

The Schaefer family celebrates the twins’ first birthday with a donation to St. Joseph’s Health NICU
Front row: Jacob Schaefer, age 5 
(L to R): Lori Gass, RN, St. Josephs Health, holding Corbin Schaefer, Ashley Schaefer (mom), Terry Schaefer (dad), Susan Kelly, RN, holding Collin Schaefer

"We are proud to partner with St. Joseph’s Health to support their mission to provide safe, high-quality, patient-centered care.” said Patrick T. Ryan, CEO of Press Ganey. “They are truly dedicated to delivering exceptional care in the communities they serve, and their commitment to capturing and acting on patient experience feedback is a very powerful demonstration of this.”

St. Joseph’s NICU is equipped and staffed 24 hours a day with registered nurses, neonatal nurse practitioners and board-certified neonatologists specially trained in the care of infants born prematurely and/or with special needs. The NICU nursery is located on the same floor as Labor and Delivery, the Mother-Baby Unit and the Birth Place. St. Joseph’s is also the only Baby Friendly® designated hospital in Central New York.

For more information about St. Joseph’s award-winning NICU, visit www.sjhsyr.org/neonatal-intensive-care-unit.

About St. Joseph’s Health

St. Joseph’s Health is a regional non-profit health care system based in Syracuse, NY. Offering primary, specialty and home care, a Magnet-recognized hospital, and collaboration with community partners, St. Joseph's Health advances the well-being of the communities we serve through an expanding range of services to ensure our patients achieve optimum long-term health. St. Joseph’s is ranked by Consumer Reports among the top 15 heart surgery centers in the country, a designated Stroke Center and a U.S. News “Best Regional Hospital.” St. Joseph’s Health is affiliated with Franciscan Companies and St. Joseph’s Physicians, and is a member of Trinity Health.

About Press Ganey

Press Ganey is a leading provider of patient experience measurement, performance analytics and strategic advisory solutions for health care organizations across the continuum of care. With more than 30 years of experience, Press Ganey is recognized as a pioneer and thought leader in patient experience measurement and performance improvement solutions. Our mission is to help health care organizations reduce patient and caregiver suffering while improving the safety, quality and experience of care. For more information, visit www.pressganey.com.


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Liverpool, NY 13088

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Fayetteville, NY 13066

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