Neonatal intensive care coming to St. Albert

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Above: Minister Sarah Hoffman announces funding for a new neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Sturgeon Community Hospital in St. Albert. GOA Photo

by Morinville News Staff

The province is investing $2.3 million in a new neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is opening in St. Albert, allowing families to receive care closer to home.

The six-unit NICU will open in mid-2019 and include an open NICU pod with four beds, two private NICU beds, a secure medication room and nursing station, and a large family washroom.

Sturgeon Community Hospital’s is experiencing growing demands, and the hospital is expected to surpass 3,000 deliveries for the first time this year.

Currently, babies requiring higher levels of care are sent to one of four NICUs at Edmonton hospitals.

“Having an NICU close to home means one less thing for expecting families to worry about,” said Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health, in a release Monday. “As St. Albert continues to grow, our government is strengthening services families count on.”

The province says the NICU will work under the expertise of the Stollery Children’s Hospital and will be equipped through $2.5 million in donations from the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation.

“We are working to ensure mothers and their babies have access to the right care in the right place,” said Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO, Alberta Health Services. “The new NICU will mean Alberta’s youngest and most vulnerable patients can stay in their home community and close to family.”

St. Albert parent Amber Stoetaert said having children who need intensive care is stressful; however, having to transfer to another hospital was scary.

“I’m so grateful that other families will be able to stay at the Sturgeon,” Stoetaert said. “This new NICU will make a huge difference.”

Mike House, president and CEO, Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, said children have better health outcomes when treated closer to home. “Our commitment to invest $2.5 million in specialized equipment and family-centred care at the Sturgeon’s new NICU is another example of how our proud donors are supporting the most advanced children’s health care to help kids and their families – right in their own backyard,” he said.

Funding for the government’s $2.3 million for the project comes from the Infrastructure Maintenance Program, a three-year rolling plan to help AHS address maintenance needs throughout the province.

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