St. Michael’s Hospital to double NICU space with provincial funding

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Unity Health Toronto has received provincial funding to plan, design and build the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at St. Michael’s Hospital.

More than 12,000 square feet of space will be renovated and the entire NICU unit of bassinets will be relocated to a larger space at the new patient care tower at St. Michael’s Hospital. Additional benefits of the project will include:

  • Enhanced infection prevention and control measures to ensure the health and safety of critically ill newborns.
  • Private rooms to address privacy concerns and create lower stimulus environments for newborn patients.
  • Expansion of the NICU to accommodate state-of-the art design standards and provide more space for specialized care.

The ministry is working with Unity Health Toronto to complete early planning and design. A construction schedule will be confirmed once future planning is complete and a project contract is tendered and awarded.

“By investing in improvements to St. Michael’s NICU, newborn patients and their families can receive the highest standard of care during their most critical time and continue to access the care they need, where they need it, for years to come,” Minister Jones said at Thursday’s announcement.

The new design will support an integrated family care model.

“This investment from the Ontario government will allow us to improve the care and health outcomes for babies requiring the highest level of care, and the care experiences of their families,” said Dr. Tim Rutledge, resident and CEO of Unity Health Toronto.

“This project will also support provincial critical care capacity through clinical education and training of the next generation of NICU specialists in Ontario.”

The updated space will accommodate families with multiples more easily in purpose built rooms, and will include a milk preparation room, a family lounge and a procedure room.

The St. Michael’s NICU is a Level 2 academic unit with about 500 neonatal admissions per year and provides care to a high-risk inner-city population.

The NICU provides specialized care to ill newborn infants, and ventilatory and nutritional support for term and preterm newborns. It is staffed by a multidisciplinary team, which includes neonatologists, pediatricians, nurse practitioners, a registered dietitian, social worker, lactation consultants, an occupational therapist, pharmacist, neonatal nursing staff and respiratory therapists.

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