A new Vancouver Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is allowing new mothers to receive medical aid right beside their newborn baby.
The state-of-the-art NICU located at Teck Acute Care Centre (Teck ACC) at BC Children’s Hospital and operated by BC Women’s Hospital, is the first of its kind in North America.
The decision to treat both mother and child together was made after it was found that mothers were skipping out on their own doctor’s appointments in order to remain by the side of their newborn.
Babies who are born at 33 weeks or later will be able to go to the mother-baby care unit.
“In our mother-baby care unit, mothers and babies will actually be admitted together and mothers and babies will receive their care from the same nurse,” said Program Director Julie De Salaberry, of the Neonatal Programs BC Women’s Hospital.
Former patient Hilary Mason, whose baby was born prematurely at 32 weeks, spent five weeks in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU). She shared her own experience of struggling to see her child while also needing medical care herself.
“I had to get a wheelchair, go down the hallway, go down an elevator, go down another hallway, scrub up and go into the NICU.”
The new centre will attempt to remedy struggles like Mason’s by moving from an open bay area with little privacy to single room care. In the unit, there are 7o rooms, 12 are designated for mothers and babies to receive care together and 58 are private recovery rooms with couches for families to stay with their child.
The grand opening of Teck ACC is set for later this fall.
– With files from Linda Aylesworth