In the new year it is a time of new things, and in Peace Arch Hospital this includes our smallest patients, our newborns.
The Auxiliary of PAH has donated a lot of money towards the maternity unit at Peace Arch Hospital. The largest contribution made to the maternity unit was made in the years 2009 to 2012. They contributed $1 million to be the lead donator for the complete renovation of the maternity floor.
I recently had a tour of this new unit. The first thing that struck me was how secure the floor is. The floor has a peaceful feel to it and although it is a hospital it feels calm, like one would feel at home.
All of the maternity suites face south and have large windows. This makes for a cheerful atmosphere.
One can look out of the windows and see the ocean and the mountains towards Mount Baker.
Unlike the times of past, fathers are encouraged to be part of the birthing experience and each private room has a bench for Dad to sleep on. He no longer has to pace the halls wondering what is happening with his wife. He is the primary coach for his wife and he can hold his child as soon as it is born.
This whole model of care is to give more privacy and it is less stressful on families. The private rooms gives families more privacy at this special time of their lives. This care is family centred and more home like.
The families stay in the same room from the time of birth until they are discharged usually about 24 hours. This makes it so much easier on everyone.
There is a team approach to maternity care at Peace Arch Hospital.
Families are welcome to have a midwife present and they work along with a team of nurses.
If a physician is required they can be called to help. The only difference is that midwives work visit with the moms when they return home with their babies.
All of the specialized equipment that is needed for the physicians and nurses are kept in each room. The baby warmer folds out of the wall like a mini Murphy bed!
This enables all of the care providers to stay with the patients during the whole delivery process.
Prior to the renovations of the maternity unit there were about 600-700 babies born each year at Peace Arch Hospital.
Now that the unit has been renovated, we have increased our numbers 30 per cent to about 1,100 babies born each year.
The unit has the same number of beds as before the renovation. There are more young families living in the community which has meant more babies at PAH.
There are volunteers who prepare information packages for families. These are given to families when they leave the hospital. Volunteers still knit hats for the newborns.
The first newborn of the year is given a layette, which is hand made by one of our members. The mom is given a dozen roses. The baby is given a stuffed bear and also a blanket.
Please come and see our new bulletin board in the lobby of the hospital. It is located in the hall from the foundation office.
The auxiliary can now post events in an electronic form which will be on the TV screen.
Felicity Matthews writes monthly on behalf of the Peace Arch Hospital Auxiliary.