The Neonatal Unit at University Hospital Galway has upgraded a room used by parents travelling long distances to see their babies who are undergoing intensive care treatment.
The Neonatal Unit at UHG is the regional unit for the West and North West and cares for babies from as far away as Donegal.
Dr Johannes Letshwiti, Consultant Neonatologist at UHG, said that the distances involved means it can be difficult for parents to visit every day, particularly if their babies are in ICU for a substantial length of time.
“We care for babies who are born prematurely and the length of time babies spend with us ranges from 1 day to over 4 months,” sad Dr Letshwiti.
“Most of the infants who stay with us for a few months have birth weight less than 1500g and those born weighing less than 1000g stay even longer.
“Once the babies are stable we can arrange for them to transfer back to their local hospital for continued care whether that be to Letterkenny, Sligo, Mayo or Portiuncula University Hospitals.”
The parents’ room is located in the Neonatal Unit and has been decorated to be ‘as homely as possible’. It includes a resting area, a cot, a TV, telephone and emergency call bell.
“We also have a fridge and kettle for parents to prepare drinks or light snacks. We book the room on a daily basis depending on the needs of the parents of the babies in the unit at any particular time,” said Dr Letshwiti.
“Also, parents can spend a night in the room with their baby just before the baby goes home to help support their confidence, particularly for parents of babies who have been in hospital for a long time.
“It is like a stepping stone to going home and staff are available throughout the night to give a helping hand if it is needed.
“We are fortunate to have a parents’ room and we are grateful to the local businesses for donations which helped renovate the room.
“One room doesn’t meet the accommodation needs for parents living within the Saolta Group region who cannot commute on a daily basis to see their babies in the Neonatal Unit here in Galway, but it is a start.”