Upgrades to maternity ward set to begin
Health: Hospital foundation fundraising to support work
Wednesday, Jan 24, 2018 06:00 am
The High River District Health Care Foundation is kicking off its campaign to provide a more comfortable environment for mothers in labour.
The foundation is raising funds for a $1.4 million upgrade of the High River Hospital’s maternity unit.
“The overall vision is to provide a spacious and pleasant setting for patients and their families and as well an efficient and safe environment for maternity staff,” said Cathy Couey, the foundation’s fund development officer.
She said the foundation is covering the entire cost through donations. The goal is to raise at least $500,000 for the maternity project by the fall and the remaining portion will come from the foundation’s reserve fund.
“It’s an entirely community funded project,” said Couey.
She said construction is anticipated to begin in February and it’s hoped the work will be completed by this fall.
The project involves a renovation and upgrade of the hospital’s 2,400 square foot maternity unit. Work will see the unit’s existing seven rooms converted into four maternity-care suites.
“We’re essentially taking what right now are seven rooms and turning them into four larger rooms that will be more spacious, offer a more comfortable setting and more room for the health-care team and the support team,” said Couey.
At present, mothers are moved through three different rooms.
“Moms come and they labour in one room, then they move to a delivery room and then they move to a room to recover, postpartum,” said Couey.
She said the renovations will allow mothers to remain in a single room through the whole process, adding it is more comfortable and easier for mothers to not have to change rooms, while making it more efficient for medical staff and the unit’s operation.
The rooms will include enough space for fathers and family members to be with the mothers. Each room will also have a birthing tub.
“We will be one of the few facilities in the province that provides private labour delivery tubs in the rooms,” said Couey.
She said approximately 350 babies are born at the hospital each year, and it has a capacity for upwards of 600.
“In looking at the numbers and looking at the new model, these rooms will accommodate up to 600 deliveries a year,” she said.
Approximately 50 per cent of the mothers who give birth at the unit are from Okotoks, with the rest coming from communities across the Foothills and south Calgary.
Mother Jennifer Penman said being able to remain in one room through labour and delivery will be easier on mothers.
“It’ll be really nice to have one option to deliver, recover and not have to leave that room with their new baby,” she said. “It’s a lot more convenient and a lot more relaxing for the new mom.”
Penman gave birth to all four of her children at High River Hospital.
She said the hospital was a peaceful and safe environment to give birth and the upgrades will further improve this.
“It’s a very relaxed atmosphere, they only intervene when they or you feel it’s necessary to intervene,” said Penman. “It’s actually quite a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere there. You can have all of your coaches and partners, whoever you want in the room there with you. Afterwards you can have as many visitors as you want.”