Neonatal unit gets an upgrade

The neonatal unit at Groote Schuur Hospital has undergone a R45 million upgrade.

A R45 million project to renovate the neonatal unit at Groote Schuur Hospital has been completed.

The upgraded neonatal unit can accommodate 80 babies, including provision for kangaroo mother care (KMC).

KMC refers to mothers living in the ward in order to perform the day to day duties needed to take of their babies.

The wards provide a range of levels of care: the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) (20 babies); high care (30 babies); pre-KMC (20 babies); and KMC (10 mothers with babies).

Other significant features include breastfeeding spaces, sterile milk kitchens, and parent support facilities.

The likelihood of neonatal infections has also been reduced through larger spacing between incubators and more hand-washing facilities.

Increased space has made it possible to accommodate more life support equipment and larger high-tech incubators, particularly in the NICU.

In addition, there is space for mothers to spend time at the bedsides of their children, and be involved in their care.

The neonatal unit was built during the early 1970s.

Over time the space at its disposal had become too small and its medical equipment had become outdated.

The ultrasound department was relocated to the floor above and the expanded neonatal unit now occupies the entire G-floor of the Maternity Building of the hospital. The project was funded by the Red Cross Hospital Trust and overseen by the Department of Transport and Public Works in partnership with the provincial Department of Health.