Stories of HopeNew Family Care Unit Open at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women

Posted on: Nov 12, 2015

Family Care Unit offers an innovative approach to family focused care at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women.

It was an early arrival for Dr. David Marples, Chair of History and Classics at the University Alberta and his wife Aya when their twin girls decided to make their way into this world. With more than five weeks still remaining in her pregnancy Aya naturally went into labour and in less than seven hours two beautiful baby girls were born. 

The babies were born at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women this past fall and from the moment of their arrival were in excellent hands. Because of their early birth the girls needed to spend some time in the Stollery Children's Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit located at the Royal Alexandra Hospital that is a 69 bed unit that specializes in the care of very premature infants. Even though the babies were quite early David remembers that the staff were very calm and careful and he and his wife never felt a sense of panic from the staff. David accompanied the babies to the NICU while his wife was recovering from the delivery and says from the moment he arrived he felt very welcomed in the unit. Akiko, the smaller of the two girls needed some oxygen and both were treated for jaundice. 

Once the babies were able to move out of the NICU the family was moved to a room in the one of the hospital's nine Stollery NICU beds in the newly opened Family Care Unit, located in the Lois Hole Hospital for Women. These beds are for newborns who are closer to discharge from hospital and require less intensive care.

The Family Care Unit provides an opportunity for families to be together while their new babies transition to home. The Family Care Unit is an innovative care initiative housed at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women. Together the Stollery NICU and the Lois Hole Hospital for Women are breaking new ground by expanding on the idea of mom and baby hospital units by offering family centered care where dads or other support persons are welcome to stay in the hospital together when babies or mothers are required to stay for longer periods of time after a birth. In the unit both moms and other caregivers are encouraged to be involved in their baby’s care as soon and as often as possible. The Family Care Unit offers semi-private rooms and accommodations for one support person to spend the time in the room with the mother whenever possible.  

The Fujiwara twins as they were affectionately known on the unit needed to spend three weeks in the Family Care Unit and the family could not have been happier with the care they were given there.

"The nurses went way beyond the call of duty" said David, "My birthday happened to fall during the stretch of our stay and the nurses insisted my wife and I go out for a nice dinner while they watched the twins. It was absolutely wonderful to be treated so well."

The girls were discharged a few days apart, mom Aya was so thankful to be able to stay with them both until they were ready to go home together. Akiko and Kaella are now well on their way to adding to all of their lives' firsts and though being some of the first babies to be welcomed to the Family Care Unit is not something they will remember, it is certainly a time that their parents will never forget.