Leona Thorogood, board chair of the Stettler Health Services Foundation, stands beside a new Panda Warmer which was recently purchased for the labour and delivery area of the Stettler Hospital Care Centre. The Foundation is funding a second Panda Warmer for the space, which is currently undergoing renovation.                                Tracy Kennedy photo

Leona Thorogood, board chair of the Stettler Health Services Foundation, stands beside a new Panda Warmer which was recently purchased for the labour and delivery area of the Stettler Hospital Care Centre. The Foundation is funding a second Panda Warmer for the space, which is currently undergoing renovation. Tracy Kennedy photo

New labour and delivery suites ahead for Stettler

Moms and newborns to benefit from equipment and renovations

Story by Amelia Schofield

Renovations taking place at the Stettler Hospital & Care Centre are anticipated to help patients like Amanda Banziger and her son Lincoln receive the best possible care in their home community.

Lincoln was born on Oct. 19th, 2018, with a rare syndrome called Pierre Robin Sequence (syndrome). It’s a set of abnormalities that affect the head and face, resulting in a smaller lower jaw (micrognathia), a tongue that’s placed farther back than normal (glossoptosis), cleft palate and blockage of the airways.

Lincoln’s condition made breathing difficult and, as a result, he was intubated soon after birth and transferred to Stollery Children’s Hospital.

While in Stettler, the healthcare team supported Lincoln’s breathing with a ventilator. He also benefited from the use of a Panda Warmer, which kept him warm and comfortable during intubation. The Stettler Health Services Foundation funded both pieces of equipment.

“The Panda Warmer was amazing. It kept our baby toasty warm and allowed the doctors and nurses room to work on him and also they were able to weigh him without having to move him,” says Banziger. “They also pulled the Panda Warmer to my bedside so I could hold his hand while we waited for the ambulance to arrive.”

The Stettler Hospital & Care Centre is now undergoing construction for new labour and delivery suites as part of a $9.3-million renovation project.

The suites will feature new equipment and furnishings funded by the Foundation, including the addition of a second Panda Warmer and vital signs monitors which attach directly to the equipment.

These new monitors will provide increased space for healthcare providers to work and improve their ability to see a baby’s vitals during treatment.

The renovation is taking place in three phases, with the labour and delivery suites included in the second phase. The recently-completed first phase saw the construction of a new pharmacy and gift shop, as well as slight modifications to the cafeteria.

The third phase, slated for 2020, will include emergency department upgrades and further kitchen and cafeteria enhancements.

Diane Palmer, site manager of the Stettler Hospital & Care Centre, says patients, families, physicians, staff and volunteers will benefit from improved patient flow, increased safety, more privacy and enhanced quality of service once the renovations are complete.

“These renovations are significant and will have a range of benefits for our facility and those we care for,” she says. “Like us, I know the community will be thrilled with the final changes once this major project is complete as it will help ensure we’re able to deliver the best care possible in a safe and functional environment for years to come.”

Banziger says she’s most looking forward to the labour and delivery suites.

“I think it’s going to be such a great addition to the hospital. I think starting your labour in one room and delivering in the same room will be a much more relaxing experience, rather than being moved from one room to the next down a hallway, trying to manage machines and tubes,” she adds.

“This community deserves beautiful new labour and delivery suites. I wish I could experience it myself, honestly!”

In addition to the Foundation’s $250,000 commitment toward the labour and delivery suites, the group is now raising $400,000 toward the purchase of emergency department equipment for the third phase of renovations.

Leona Thorogood, board chair of the Foundation, says the community has shown tremendous support thus far, which is a testament to their commitment toward enhancing healthcare in Stettler and the surrounding area.

“We’re grateful that they believe in the Stettler Hospital & Care Centre and the level of care they receive there,” says Thorogood.

“We’re grateful that they have confidence in our system and our Foundation that we invest the donations where it’s needed the most — and thankful that we have this facility in our community.”

To learn more about the Stettler Health Services Foundation and their current fundraising efforts, visit stettlerhealthfoundation.com.

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