Special Care Nursery - Bringing Families Together

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 - 10:45am
At St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital (STEGH), it is the goal of our Special Care Nursery (SCN) to provide your babies with the best possible care so that he or she can be cared for in your community and safely discharged home. Babies are admitted to the SCN because they need specialized medical and nursing care either after birth at STEGH or on transfer from of the neonatal intensive care units in the province.  STEGH recently opened newly renovated SCN space on its third floor made possible due to the STEGH Foundation’s generous support. 
"OUR Hospital is a great place to have babies," explains Foundation Executive Director, Paul Jenkins. "The Foundation is fiercely proud to invest in the care of our community's most vulnerable newborns… helping moms, dads, and babies throughout Elgin County and beyond receive the care we deserve as close to home as possible." 
STEGH is deeply committed to listening to the voices of the patients and families it serves and to learn from their experiences while at STEGH.  A set of high risk, premature twins, was one of the first patients to received care in the new SCN. Their mother warmly agreed to be interviewed and asked to remain anonymous, and we have chosen to call her Hannah. While sitting down with Hannah, STEGH was able to understand more about the patient experience in STEGH’s new SCN. 
“I know [the Special Care Nursery] is a new area, so I would say that the area is very nice and functions great. It has a nice flow and you get your own privacy with it as well. ”
In the new SCN there have been significant upgrades that will improve the developmental care for all babies during their stay in the unit, including: environmental controls for lighting, temperature and noise, as well as security system access at the door. During the twins’ stay, they progressively improved by putting on weight steadily every day. 
In addition to the SCN, there are also other amenities available to allow each family a comfortable stay.
“They also have a room at the end for the moms to sleep in which is great if you need to take a nap and the kitchen if you want to make something to eat or warm up something is nice as well,” added Hannah.
“The experience while in the SCN should be safe the babies themselves, and welcoming to their families who are an essential part of the care team” says Charlotte Etue, Manager of the SCN.
When asked what stood out most to Hannah during her babies time in the SCN she said, “each of the nurses have their different styles, but they are all working towards the same goals of helping the babies put on weight and also progress towards being able to feed on their own. They are also very consoling to me. They offer a lot of advice in terms of how to breast feed, how to bottle feed, pumping, teaching us how to change diapers, and teaching us little tricks. When it’s your first time you don’t really know.”
Hannah added that for the duration of her family’s stay they have found that the time flew by. 
“It is a very comfortable environment and everyone has been very helpful.” 
The new physical space includes an improved nurse call system, the installation of headwalls, ongoing newborn resuscitation space, improved infection control, temperature control, and organized storage space.  There is also space for important private consultations and lockers for parent’s belongings.