Neonatal intensive care unit now accepting younger patients

Neonatal staff standing around incubator machine
Fiona Stanley Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit leadership team – Becky Marsh, Dr Jean Du Plessis, Danielle Green and Dr Shailender Mehta
July 8, 2019

Families in Perth’s southern suburbs will now have access to the highest level neonatal intensive care unit, with Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) accepting babies from fewer than 32 weeks gestation.

FSH Head of Neonatology Dr Jean Du Plessis said the expanded service will be life changing for families.

“Having a pre-term baby is one of the most stressful times for a family. Being able to access lifesaving health care closer to home will make a significant difference to many lives,” Dr Du Plessis said.

“FSH can now offer women and their baby the ability to recover in respective intensive care units without separation – this helps the healing for mother and baby as well as provides convenience for visiting family members.

“This is a truly wonderful outcome for new families, who will get timely access to vital care closer to home.”

The service secures FSH as a specialist maternity hub in the southern suburbs, with improved access to expert care and treatment. The hospital will soon include the Family Birthing Unit scheduled to open later this year.

This advanced neonatal service also enables FSH to become a specialist training hub for neonatologists and neonatal nurses, providing crucial training for the next generation of specialists and, most importantly, keeping this expert workforce in Western Australia.

This comprehensive neonatal service will allow a mother who requires intensive care and her baby to be co-located in the same facility, reducing separation and anxiety and potentially leading to better outcomes for both patients.

FSH is now accepting these smallest of babies in collaboration other hospitals, the Neonatal Emergency Transport Service and St John Ambulance who will facilitate smooth transfers of mothers and babies, who need high level care, from other facilities to FSH.

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