Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New NICU space will provide more beds at Alberta Chiildren's Hospital

Up to 14 new neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) beds will be added at the Alberta Children’s Hospital to help meet the growing needs for these services in Calgary and southern Alberta.

The additional beds, scheduled to open next year, will increase Level 3 NICU capacity by 56 per cent and will reduce the need for neonatal patients with complex conditions or who require surgeries to travel between hospitals in Calgary. Level 3 NICUs are acute care spaces designed to care for the sickest and most critically ill newborns. Using available space at the Alberta Children’s Hospital keeps NICU patients and their families close to pediatric specialists.

“These new beds are all about creating a stronger healthcare system to improve care for Alberta’s families,” said Dr. Chris Eagle, President and CEO, Alberta Health Services. “AHS remains committed to increasing capacity and access to healthcare, and we’re able to do that through the support of our community partners like the Edwards family, and the Alberta government.”

Philanthropists Heather and N. Murray Edwards generously donated $5 million, through the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, to help enhance NICU services in Calgary, including this $8.5-million capital project. The new unit will be named the Edwards Family NICU. The project will incorporate the new beds in undeveloped space on the fourth floor of the Alberta Children’s Hospital, and will add patient care and clinical and family support spaces. Stantec Architecture Ltd. has been hired by the Alberta government to refine the layout of the unit and optimize the number and size of the rooms.

Currently, Level 3 NICU services exist at the Foothills Medical Centre. Both the Peter Lougheed Centre and Rockyview General Hospital have Level 2 NICU services.

Construction of the NICU is expected to begin this summer and scheduled to be completed late 2013.

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