Every year around 650 babies are admitted to the Neonatal Unit at the Canberra Hospital, beginning their life by fighting for it.
Over 150 of these babies will require assistance simply to breathe, using ventilation equipment not available elsewhere. Some of these babies are born extremely premature and weigh in at only 500 grams; some are larger than expected for their gestational age and weigh over 5 kilograms.
A wide range of medical and surgical complications can require newborn babies to spend long periods of time living in intensive care under close observation. It isn’t a simple job, and the equipment required to treat frail newborn infants is not simple either.
The protection and treatment of these newborns requires a high degree of clinical expertise and technological support in order to maximise the potential for a normal life after discharge.
At the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Canberra Hospital, the parental support provided goes well beyond the call of duty. The Unit holds Mother and Father meetings, teaches parenting skills and baby care, and have a social worker on call just for Dads. Support for families continues well after discharge from the hospital, with staff making follow up phone calls, making home visits and even holding a Christmas party to keep in touch with the families of babies they have cared for.
It is as a result of this incredible dedication by Unit staff that The Newborn Intensive Care Foundation itself was born. The Foundation was established by a group of concerned parents who wanted to assist with the Unit’s continual development.
Since it was formally launched by former Chief Minister Kate Carnell in 1995, the Foundation has made some fantastic achievements. To date, they have raised over $3million in cash, equipment or in-kind support. They have obtained incubators, a cerebral function monitor, a nitric-oxide delivery system and much more vital technology to improve the quality of care available for sick newborns.
The Foundation is 100% voluntarily staffed; with 100% of donations received go directly into the Centre for Newborn Care.
Last week (12/02/2013) the Chairman of the Foundation, Peter Cursley received a cheque from the staff at allhomes.com.au, who donated their usual ‘Christmas Bonus’ money to this worthy cause. All Homes management then added to the pool, bringing the total of donations up to $5,000.
Peter says this money will go towards purchasing three much-needed platinum and elite hospital grade breast pumps for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Canberra Hospital.
To donate, visit www.newborn.org.au. You will learn the humble beginnings of this incredibly worthwhile Foundation, including stories of great loss and incredible survival.