Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 6, 2009
Grey Nuns nursery cradles fragile newborns and moms
New $7.5M facility provides tranquility, plus stellar medical care
WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ
Helen Ellenor, transitional coordinator for the unit, says the unit serves Millwoods as well as transfers from other hospitals.
“The care in both (hospitals) is wonderful, but this is nice because there is a private room and just more privacy with your babies and a higher comfort level to spend time with them,” Heron-Coghlan said.
“We noticed the Royal Alex is louder and the lighting is really bright so it’s nice here that we can dim the lights in our room, we can adjust the temperature and it’s quiet.”
Baby Maxwell has already been released, but Benjamin will remain at the nursery until he improves his feeding.
If she wanted, Heron- Coghlan could spend the night at the nursery. There is a bed in each room so that moms can spend the night with their babies. There are also showers to accommodate parents who stay overnight. And there is a laundry room for moms to wash her babies’ clothes.
The Grey Nuns built the nursery in response to the rising demand for neonatal care.
“We had a small nursery before, but with all the new admissions that we’ve been getting, we needed more space,” explains Helen Ellenor, transitional coordinator for the unit. “Millwoods is a very young community having lots of babies; in addition, we get transfers from the University and the Royal Alex hospitals.”
Actually the whole province has been experiencing a baby boom. About 50,455 babies were born in Alberta last year, breaking the previous year’s record of 48,589.
The Grey Nuns alone recorded 5,600 births last year, a 27 per cent increase over the past five years.
The old unit was overclouded with incubators in the hallways and families with premature babies crammed together, Ellenor said. “We were all in one room and it was very noisy with monitors going off constantly.”
The new nursery provides additional capacity for 14 isolettes on the unit and allows the hospital to look after younger premature and fragile infants needing higher levels of care.
“This new unit is as much like a mother’s womb as possible,” the unit coordinator explained. “So we have it very quiet for the babies and the lights are dimmed so the lights aren’t there to affect the babies’ eyes.”
The 34-bed nursery is 10 times larger than the old one and employs 80 nurses — 12 to 13 per shift. It’s currently open for 24 beds.
“We have an extra room that is just waiting for when we need that extra space,” Ellenor pointed out.
The $7.5 million unit is part of a $17.75 million redevelopment of the hospital’s maternity ward that began in 2004-05.
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