Additional space in the recently expanded Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Hamad Medical Corporation’s Women’s Hospital is providing parents with the opportunity to become even more involved in the care of their babies born premature and ensure their best possible chance of survival.
“In our Tiny Baby Unit (TBU), we now have the capacity to allocate individual space for our babies that are born before the 28th week of pregnancy,” said Dr. Hilal al-Rifai, Women’s Hospital medical director and director of its Neonatal/Perinatal Services. “This means our nurses have optimal access to each baby and parents have more privacy which gives them a better chance at bonding with their child.”
In the TBU, each baby is assigned a nurse who administers one to one care for the duration of the baby’s stay in the unit. This allows them to build relationships with parents spending more time practicing bonding techniques such as Kangaroo Care. This is an important practice that encourages parents to have skin-to-skin contact with their baby by placing them on their chest which can play an integral role in a baby’s recovery process.
“Having my baby girl born at 24 weeks was the worst thing imaginable. I was shocked, terrified and unprepared for the journey ahead,” said Sally Dandachli whose baby Masa was born at 24 weeks gestation. “Thankfully, the Women’s Hospital NICU staff’s care for Masa were incredible. The doctors listened attentively to our questions, always considered our feedback and the nurses never left my baby’s bedside, helping me bond with her each day.”
Sally also recalls having the ability to express breastmilk for baby Masa in one of the two new dedicated breastfeeding rooms. Since offering this designated space, the unit has been able to increase the number of babies receiving breastmilk. Specially designed, each room is equipped with special lighting that is meant to enhance relaxation and increase the production of expressed milk.
“Our nursing team works with each mother to teach them how to express milk so it can be delivered by a small tube into the baby’s stomach,” said Matheus Van Rens, acting director of nursing in the Women’s Hospital NICU. “Breast milk for high risk premature infants is highly desirable and not only as the optimal nutritional dietary source, but also to minimise the risk of infection, and maximise neuro-developmental maturation and ultimate cognitive function,” he added.
The unit offers daily support sessions for parents during their HUG (Helping you grasp) days. HUG is a multidisciplinary parent education programme which organises an event every year for both staff and parents in recognition of World Prematurity Day. [GulfNews]