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Sunnybrook opens leading-edge neonatal centre

TORONTO – Sunnybrook will this month open a state-of-the-art Women & Babies Program, in which it is investing a total of $197 million. The two-floor facility will deliver approximately 4,250 babies every year and will specialize in high-risk and multiple births. Sunnybrook expects to care for one of every five babies born in Ontario who weigh less than three pounds.

“Our staff are thrilled with this new facility,” said Dr. Barry McLellan, President and CEO, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. “This is the premier facility for high-risk births and neonatal intensive care in the country. It was designed with patients, families and staff, who came together to create an incredible environment to bring new life into the world. The research and clinical advancements that will be made in this facility will invent the future of care for women and babies.”

Sunnybrook’s Women & Babies Program offers many unique features that have received international acclaim for their leading-edge design. Patients will be greeted by open and modern spaces, painted in soothing spa-like colors. Low-risk women can labour, deliver and recover all in the comforts of one room without ever having to move.

High-risk women will also receive care in rooms that feel more like home than the hospital. For those who have complicated deliveries where their babies require additional and immediate care, mothers and birthing partners have the option of watching staff help newborns on a closed circuit television.

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit has a separate room for each baby, as well as separate entrances for parents and staff. There are also specially equipped rooms in the NICU for multiple births.

“What’s also wonderful about the design is that there is plenty of room for parents and families to visit and offer their love and support.” said Dr. Andrew Shennan, Program Chief, Women & Babies. “We know how precious it is to welcome a new life into the world, and being able to share that with those you love is something Sunnybrook is proud to offer.”

As well as birthing and a new NICU, the Unit also houses a neonatal follow-up clinic, which will be the most comprehensive and progressive program of its kind in Canada. Sunnybrook’s team of specialists will monitor the development of premature infants born here until the age of six years, providing care and intervention when needed.

Toronto philanthropists Aubrey and Marla Dan donated $8 million to this new program, helping launch the new Aubrey and Marla Dan Program for High Risk Mothers and Babies. “When our daughter Alyse was born over 18 years ago, she weighed only one pound, six ounces,” said Aubrey Dan. “Today, she is a healthy and vibrant teenager. This world-class team of experts now has an appropriate world class facility.”

Posted September 9, 2010