Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Women’s Wellness and Research Center (WWRC) will introduce a unique model of care for critically ill newborns when its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is relocated from Women’s Hospital to the new facility.
Approximately 2,000 newborn babies requiring intensive medical attention are admitted to the NICU each year.
Most are born prematurely, with others having medical conditions or birth defects that require monitoring, medications or early surgical intervention.
According to Dr Hilal al-Rifai, medical director, WWRC, the new model will increase continuity of care and encourage even better outcomes for critically ill newborns. “The new model focuses on building a stronger bond between patients, parents, and their healthcare team, which we believe will result in a shorter length of stay, fewer complications, and improvements in parent involvement and satisfaction levels,” said Dr al-Rifai.
Once relocated, the NICU will be situated across two floors of the WWRC, offering a spacious environment that provides intensive and intermediate care to babies who are born prematurely, have a low birth weight, or have a medical condition that requires special care.
The new model, which is considered unique will eliminate the need to move babies within the NICU at different stages of care and will allow them to stay within the same location from admission to discharge.
Babies will also be cared for by a single healthcare team throughout their time in the hospital.
“When a baby enters the NICU, the condition is assessed and the care it needs, is determined based on the level of intervention required. For example, our intensive care babies are cared for in a specialised unit within the NICU that is designed for babies born at less than 32 weeks gestation, who weigh less than 1.4 kilograms or may suffer from feeding, breathing or infection issues,” he explained.
“Under our current model, babies who are currently in this unit will transition to the regular NICU as they grow and their condition becomes more stable. Under our new model, babies will stay in the same location, and will be cared for by the same team, for the duration of their time in the NICU,” added Dr al-Rifai.
He went on to say that in addition to creating continuity of care, the new model also aims to reduce parents’ stress and anxiety, by providing families with their own dedicated care team.
The new model of care supports HMC’s vision of ensuring that babies born prematurely, and those who are critically ill, have the highly-specialised resources needed to achieve the best possible outcome.
According to Dr al-Rifai, as the largest NICU in the region caring for the most fragile infants, he and his team know that getting the right care, at the right time, in the right place is critical.
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