A newly renovated $11.7-million neonatal intensive care unit has opened at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton.
The David Schiff NICU was part of a $54.7-million project to develop and expand the critical care units at the children’s hospital.
The redevelopment includes 18 beds in single or double-patient rooms, which will provide more space and privacy to patients and their family members who need to stay overnight as their newborns receive care in the NICU.
“Having a baby in the NICU is a time of crisis for most families,” said Karen Calhoun, a parent and family adviser with the Stollery.
Each bedside is equipped with fridges for breastmilk storage, recliners and sleeping sofas for parents, as well as NICView cameras so loved ones outside the hospital can check in virtually. There are also sleep rooms and a laundry room for families, as well as a family lounge space.
“Being at your baby’s bedside can be all-consuming, but in order to care for your baby to the best of your ability, you need to take care of yourself,” Calhoun said.
“Knowing that a kitchen, shower and laundry room are just steps away can provide a real sense of relief for families.”
Upwards of 500 babies who need surgery are cared for in the David Schiff NICU at the Stollery each year.
“The redeveloped space has significant upgrades to optimize patient care and infection control practices, ensuring our staff and physicians can provide the best care possible, not only throughout this pandemic, but in the years to come,” Alberta Health Services CEO and president Dr. Verna Yiu said.
As part of the renovation project, the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation provided an additional $1.2 million to fund comfort items for families using the NICU.
“The new NICU provides more space and privacy, and the latest technologies and pediatric equipment. We’re grateful to our many donors and government partners for making this urgent, family-centred care space a reality for newborns and their families,” said Mike House, president and CEO of the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation.
The province said the project was completed under budget, despite construction being temporarily halted during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NICU is supported by more than 200 staff members, including registered nurses, respiratory therapists, neonatal nurse practitioners and neonatologists.