The multidisciplinary team at Women’s Hospital cares for a neonate in the NICU expansion
Expanded nearly one year ago today, the 111-cot Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Hamad Medical Corporation’s Women’s Hospital continues to save the lives of hundreds of high risk or critically ill newborns in Qatar.
“Since our humble beginnings in 1975, our NICU has expanded to become the largest in the GCC region,” said Dr. Hilal Al Rifai, Women’s Hospital Medical Director and Director of its Neonatal/Perinatal Services.
”We take great pride in our ability to provide the highest international standard of care for the many neonates admitted and are continuously working on enhancing our patient and family-centered care experience.”
On average, the unit admits almost 2,000 babies per year for serious medical concerns caused by being born too early (prematurity), respiratory distress, cardiac disease, congenital anomalies, multi-system organ failure and other life threatening issues.
“The expanded facility empowers us to provide an ever higher level of intensive care to our most vulnerable babies and as a result increases our successful outcomes for patients that fall into this high risk category,” said Dr. Al Rifai. The expansion project inaugurated in late 2015 was backed by The Social and Sports Activities Support Fund (Daam), he added.
Along with offering the latest state-of-the-art medical equipment, the recently expanded NICU is staffed by a group of highly specialized and experienced staff. This includes 50 physicians, over 300 nurses and a multidisciplinary team made up of respiratory therapists, social workers, a clinical pharmacist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, lactation consultant, speech therapist and two NICU special educators.
In anticipation of the opening of the new Women’s Wellness and Research Center, scheduled for 2017, and to further enhance the quality and safety of the practice, this number will continue to increase.
“Providing the specialized care for each of our patients and ensuring that every member of the clinical team knows what to do, and when, is a top priority in the NICU. This multidisciplinary approach can mean the difference between life and death for our newly born patients,” said Sister Flonor Reyes Vista, Head Nurse of the NICU and an employee at Women’s Hospital since its opening.
In addition to this expansion, Women’s Hospital introduced a neonatal developmental care model that has changed the current neonatal philosophy into an environment that is focused on understanding the individualized needs of patients and their families. This model of care focuses on optimizing both short and long term physical, mental and emotional growth and supports positive health outcomes for neonates admitted to the neonatal intensive care units across HMC.
“It is an exciting time in the NICU. Not only has our environment changed for the better, but our concept of care and approaches are evolving too," noted Dr. Al Rifai.
The Women’s Hospital NICU team has received recognition for a number of their initiatives in the last year including, a Stars of Excellence win for their Neonatal Transport Program and the Managing Director’s Special Award for the ‘Golden Hour’ Delivery Room Management Project. This project focused on the first 60 minutes of a very premature baby’s life by adopting international evidenced-based practices to help ensure the best possible survival rates, quality of life and reduced morbidity rates.
This month, the team was also recognized at the 6th International Patient Safety Congress in India for their work on quality improvement projects in infection prevention practices. Placed alongside 20 other countries, the Women’s Hospital NICU staff were awarded first place for their efforts in Asia.