|NICU staff educator Carol Chapman demonstrates one of the new pediatric human patient simulators and infant resuscitator acquired through a grant from the Sandra Scmirler Foundation Wednesday in the Chinook Regional Hospital auxiliary building. Herald photo by Ian Martens|
A $50,000 grant obtained by the Chinook Regional Hospital has provided the means to purchase 33 new infant resuscitators as well as two new pediatric human patient simulators.
The new equipment will allow staff more tools for treating newborn babies, especially those born prematurely, and assist with training.
The money was donated to the Chinook Regional Hospital Foundation by the Sandra Schmirler Foundation, named in memory of the world champion and Olympic gold medal curler who died of cancer in 2000 at age 36.
She had two young daughters at the time of her passing and the Foundation has provided $2.4 million in support of neonatal units across Canada since being established in 2001.
"Any equipment that can come in here and help with neonatal intensive care is a wonderful thing," said Jody Meli, board member and past chair of the Sandra Schmirler Foundation.
"We're trying to support the sickest babies, the ones that are in the most need, and it's wonderful for me to come here today and see this in my own community."
"We're always happy to partner with other organizations and through partnerships we can accomplish even more - this is a prime example of that," said Jason Vandenhoek, executive director of the CRH Foundation.
""We've been really pleased to receive a $50,000 grant through the Sandra Schmirler Foundation to aid the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at the Chinook Regional Hospital."
The Sandra Schmirler Foundation also donated $50,000 to the CRH in 2007.
Around 2,400 babies are born each year at CRH, with about 10 per cent arriving before their due date.
The new infant resuscitators will ensure every breath is precisely measured, thus reducing the likelihood of lung damage caused by ventilation.
They are now at all NICU bedsides, as well as at every bedside in the labour and delivery rooms.
Staff formerly used a Jackson Reese bag, where each breath was controlled by the squeeze of the operator's hand.
"We did have other methods before that did the job; this is just a real advance in how well we can do the job," said Carol Chapman, NICU staff educator.
"It is a life-saving piece of equipment."
"The way we've been doing it is safe, but the new way is better," added Cheryl Beaudoin, NICU manager.
"And we're always striving to provide the best possible patient care, especially when the newborn infant needs our help."
The two high-tech preemie-sized simulators can be used for a variety of purposes, including to replicate ventilation, blood work, IV, feeding and treatment for possible defects, Chapman says.
The chest even moves with breaths and can be heard with a stethoscope.
"We can simulate lots of things with this little, very realistic baby," Chapman said.
"It provides a really great practice opportunity for nurses. It's a great tool for helping staff experience realistic simulation and keep their skills up-to-date."