Having a baby in the NICU can be difficult for families. But one hospital in Vancouver just created a new NICU that makes bonding time easier—because parents now get to stay in a room with their babies. The Teck Acute Care Centre, located on the campus of BC Children's Hospital and BC Women's Hospital, has 70 specialized rooms in their NICU, which will allow many ill or premature babies to stay in the same room with their parents. As long as the mom is a low-risk patient, and the babies are 33 weeks gestation or later and are considered a "level two" patient, they can take advantage of this new system.
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Several of the suites are set up to accommodate multiples, and all are ready for the longer-term care that families of NICU babies need—there's an in-room fridge, storage areas, a specially designed "kangaroo care" chair, and of course, a bed equipped with "pillow" speakers—so you won't have to wake your little one if you're catching up on This Is Us while she naps. Sweet!
The other benefit to this? Parents are encouraged and empowered to help care for their little ones—so they may feel more confident about their abilities when they finally get the green light to take their babies home.
According to a Babble interview with Julie de Salabary, the director of maternal newborn programs for the hospital, the inspiration for this model was both significant research on NICU patient outcomes and the thoughts of one former NICU mom. "“There is substantive literature that reports the single most stressful event for mothers with babies in the NICU is separation, regardless of the severity of illness," she says. And the research bears out that the separation of mom and baby results in poorer outcomes for both.
We'd love to see more of these types of NICUs open—because all mamas deserve to be with their little ones, as much as they possibly can.