The Women’s Wellness and Research Centre under the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) will introduce a unique model of care for critically ill newborns when its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is relocated from the Women’s Hospital to the new facility.

Approximately 2,000 newborn babies requiring intensive medical attention are admitted to NICU each year. Most are born prematurely, with others having medical conditions or birth defects that require monitoring, medications or early surgical intervention.

According to Dr Hilal Al Rifai, Medical Director of Women’s Wellness and Research Centre, the new model will increase continuity of care and encourage even better outcomes for critically ill newborns. He said that the new model focuses on building a stronger bond between patients, parents, and their healthcare team, which they believe, will result in a shorter length of stay, fewer complications, and improvement in parent involvement and satisfaction levels.

HMC’s commitment to maternal and neonatal care dates back to 1975 with the opening of its first NICU

Once relocated, the NICU will be situated across two floors of the Women’s Wellness and Research Centre, offering a spacious environment that provides intensive and intermediate care to babies born prematurely, have a low birth weight, or have a medical condition that requires special care. The new model, which is considered unique, will eliminate the need to move babies within the NICU at different stages of care and will allow them to stay within the same location from admission to discharge. Babies will also be cared for by a single healthcare team throughout their time in the hospital.

Under our model, babies who are currently in this unit will transition to the regular NICU as they grow and their condition becomes more stable. Under our new model, babies will stay in the same location, and will be cared for by the same team, for the duration of their time in the NICU.’

NICU HMCHe said that in addition to creating continuity of care, the new model also aims to reduce parents’ stress and anxiety, by providing families with their own dedicated care team.

Hamad’s commitment to maternal and neonatal care dates back to 1975 when our first NICU opened. Our reputation for caring for high-risk pregnancies is recognised throughout the region. Many of the babies we care for remain in the NICU for weeks at a time and this new model of care will help create an environment that provides families with greater comfort and privacy.’

Vicki Kilmurray, Director of Nursing for the Women’s Wellness and Research Centre’s NICU, said that extending the time babies spend with their care team results in better health outcomes.

Keeping babies and their healthcare team together allows the NICU team to focus on understanding each baby’s needs. It enables us to optimise both short and long-term physical, mental, and emotional development. The team will also have the ability to build stronger relationships with the parents and identify where they may require extra support, which will ultimately aid in their baby’s recovery and continued growth.’

The new model of care supports HMC’s vision of ensuring that babies born prematurely, and those who are critically ill, have the highly-specialised resources needed to achieve the best possible outcome. According to Dr Al Rifai, his team knows that getting the right care, at the right time, in the right place, is critical.

It is crucial for women, especially those who have been classified as having a high-risk pregnancy, to feel confident that we can provide the care their baby needs. The babies we treat need highly-specialised multi-disciplinary care 24/7 and the new model that we will implement at the Women’s Wellness and Research Centre will better position us to provide that care.’

For more information about the new NICU at the Women’s Wellness and Research Centre, visit the HMC website through this link.