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Stollery neonatal intensive care expands to Sturgeon

Stollery neonatal intensive care expands to local hospital

ST. ALBERT — Critically ill infants born at the Sturgeon Community Hospital can receive care closer to home with the opening of a new Stollery neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

The Stollery NICU will open in St. Albert on Monday, Oct. 28. The $2.3-million project was funded through the Alberta government’s Infrastructure Maintenance Program. The Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation provided an additional $2 million to fund staff training and additional state-of-the-art equipment for the new NICU.

“This is a great day for St. Albert and for all the parents raising their families in this vibrant, growing community,” says Tyler Shandro, Alberta’s Minister of Health. “Our government is committed to ensuring Albertans receive as much of their care as possible in their own communities. Thank you to Alberta Health Services and the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation for investing in Alberta families and our youngest patients.”

Approximately 3,000 babies are delivered at the Sturgeon each year. Previously, newborns requiring neonatal intensive care were transferred to one of four Edmonton hospitals that have a NICU. These include two Stollery Children’s Hospital NICUs, located at the University of Alberta and the Royal Alexandra Hospital sites, as well as NICUs in two Covenant Health facilities, the Grey Nuns and Misericordia hospitals.

Jamie McMillan delivered her daughter Lexi at the Sturgeon in April 2014.  Lexi had to be transferred to the David Schiff Stollery NICU at the University of Alberta Hospital.

“A crew came in with my baby in an incubator ready for transport,” says McMillan. “I got to hold her very briefly with a room full of strangers before her and I began to cry and I sent them off. Having a neonatal intensive care unit at the Sturgeon is incredible and I can imagine it would have made a world of difference for my baby and me.”

The new Stollery NICU at the Sturgeon will include six patient beds: one four-bed room and two private rooms. Specialized care will be provided for babies born as young as 32 weeks gestation. The Stollery NICU will be part of the zone-wide neonatal intensive care program that ensures all newborns have access to all the possible levels of care and support they might need.

Families were involved in the planning and design of the new unit, helping to build an intensive care space that improves the healthcare journey for patients and families.

Bedsides are equipped with fridges for breastmilk storage, breast pumps, massage recliners, televisions, and NICView cameras that allow parents to see live images of their infant when they are not at the bedside. Both private rooms will be equipped with a sleeping sofa bed that comfortably accommodates two people.

“Patient- and family-centred care is at the heart of everything we do,” says Dr. Verna Yiu, President and CEO of Alberta Health Services.

“When critically ill newborns can receive care closer to home, their families can stay in their community, closer to their support systems. Thanks to government, community donors to the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and hard work on the site, our staff and physicians will be able to provide the best care possible, helping make families more comfortable during their baby’s stay in the hospital.”

Mike House, President and CEO of Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, says he is pleased community donors contributed to a project that will support families at a difficult time in their lives.

“Sturgeon County families whose newborns need neonatal intensive care will no longer have to travel to Edmonton for world-class Stollery care. This means that in their hardest times, families can stay close to home,” says Mike House, President and CEO of the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation.

“Our donors invested in this critical care space so that families in St. Albert and Sturgeon County can stay together while their newborns get the life-saving care they require, right in their own backyard.”

Media inquiries

Marni Kuhlmann
AHS Communications

Courtney Gillis
Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation