Members of Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Ambulance Service and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) teams have completed the delicate process of safely transporting over 100 babies from the old unit at Women’s Hospital to the new NICU at the Women’s Wellness and Research Center (WWRC).
The newly opened NICU at the WWRC extends across two floors, offering a spacious environment for over 100 high-risk or critically ill newborns. The new facility is the largest in the region, employing more than 500 highly skilled healthcare professionals who provide specialised care to 2,500 neonates a year.
“We are extremely grateful to the many members of our staff who participated in successfully completing this delicate process,” said Dr Hilal al-Rifai, medical director, WWRC. “Over the course of two weeks, we were able to transition over 100 babies to our beautiful new facility.”
According to Dr al-Rifai, the transition to the new NICU required advanced monitoring equipment and an experienced multi-disciplinary team who were tasked with ensuring the journey for each baby was as safe and as comfortable as possible. The move required months of pre-planning and a number of simulation exercises were completed in advance to ensure a smooth transition.
“Transferring over 100 NICU babies is a large undertaking,” said Brendon Morris, executive director of the Ambulance Service at HMC.
“The success of this transfer has been the result of extensive planning and collaboration between various teams, both prior to, and during the move. Over multiple days, specialised teams from both the Women’s Hospital and the Ambulance Service worked together using our state-of-the-art ambulances and equipment to safely carry out these transfers.”
In addition to the new location, the NICU at the WWRC has introduced a unique model of care for critically ill newborns. The model eliminates the need to transition babies within the unit, allowing them to stay within the same location from admission until discharge.
“Our new model is focused on family-centred care,” said Ma Lourdes Ezpeleta, assistant executive director of Nursing at the NICU. “Each baby is treated by a single healthcare team. This helps our teams create a stronger bond with parents and can help parents feel more comfortable.”
Once babies are well enough to be discharged, staff at the unit provide guidance and support to parents, encouraging them to participate meaningfully in their infant’s care as part of ensuring there will be a smooth transition from hospital to home. This includes practising parent-baby bonding techniques, involving parents in decision-making and caregiving, and providing education and psychological support through weekly classes.
“The new model also gives our NICU teams greater opportunity to spend more time with each baby, getting to know them and their individual needs,” said Ezpeleta.
“By better understanding a baby’s cues, we can carefully design a treatment plan which can result in a faster recovery and minimise their length of stay.”