Currently, newborns in the East Kootenay who are premature or have health complications must be airlifted to Kelowna, Kamloops, or Vancouver to receive the life-saving care they need.
The addition of a Tier 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to East Kootenay Regional Hospital will help keep care for these newborns and their families in the region. The NICU will provide new specialized equipment and health care professionals. This will allow more newborns to receive care in the East Kootenay, saving new parents and families from long, stressful, and expensive hospital stays across the province.
The NICU has advanced technology and trained healthcare professionals to give special care for the tiniest patients at the hospital, something currently unavailable in the East Kootenay.
At a Tier 3 NICU, services can be provided to newborns of at least 34 weeks gestation and at least 1,800 grams or four pounds in weight, who present moderate risk requiring acute care. This higher level of specialized care means an urgent/emergent baby born at a minimum 32 weeks gestation and at least 1,500 grams or 3.3 pounds with appropriate weight for gestational age may be able to remain at EKRH as well. It also means babies who have received a higher level of care away from the East Kootenay will be able to return to the region quicker.
The NICU upgrade will bring the East Kootenay Regional Hospital one step closer to truly providing regional services.
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