Posted on May 20, 2018

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 Women’s Wellness and Research Center 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 specialized 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 for the Women’s Wellness and Research Center. “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 preplanning 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 Mr. 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, specialized 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.”

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In addition to the new location, the NICU at the Women’s Wellness and Research Center 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-centered care,” said Ms. 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 practicing 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 Ms. Ma. Lourdes Ezpeleta. “By better understanding a baby’s cues, we can carefully design a treatment plan which can result in a faster recovery and minimize their length of stay.” 

As of 11 May, the Emergency Department and all inpatient services previously located at Women’s Hospital have been relocated to the new Women’s Wellness and Research Center. Until otherwise announced, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Infertility services will remain in their current location at Women’s Hospital.

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