Giving Grand River’s NICU Babies the Chance to Be Champions
Spending time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Grand River Hospital can be a challenging experience for babies and their families – that’s why the Sandra Schmirler Foundation is committed to giving them the chance to be champions.
Inspired by Sandra Schmirler, a Canadian Olympian and curling champion who passed away from cancer at the young age of 36, the Sandra Schmirler Foundation raises funds to purchase life-saving equipment for premature and critically ill babies in Canada. Their goal is to give these babies the chance to grow up, so they have the opportunity to live a full life and even become champions like Sandra. Their generous gift of $50,000 funded two GE CARESCAPE ONE cardiorespiratory monitors for Grand River Kids’ neonatal intensive care unit at Grand River Hospital.
Cardiorespiratory monitors ensure that our care teams can provide critical monitoring for our smallest and youngest patients — all of the babies in our neonatal intensive care unit need to be connected to one. These monitors display the baby’s vitals on a screen, providing crucial information that lends to analysis, diagnosis, and eventually celebrations when we are finally able to send the baby and their family home. The grant from the Sandra Schmirler Foundation funded two of these monitors: one for each of the unit’s two crash carts, which contain all the medical equipment, supplies and medication used to treat a patient during a medical emergency.
“We are incredibly appreciative of this,” said Jessica Socha, Education Practice Lead, Children’s Program. “We care for … the very smallest patients that come through this hospital, and this grant [has allowed] us to purchase cardiac monitors for both of our neonatal resuscitation carts … We never want to have to resuscitate a baby, but it does happen fairly frequently, and [it means that] when we take our emergency equipment to that baby, the resuscitation cart has [everything] we need to complete the resuscitation and monitor the baby. It’s something that we didn’t have available before in the NICU, so thank you very much for the support.”
Their gift was a part of a larger call for support to provide our neonatal intensive care unit with an entire fleet of new cardiorespiratory monitors to ensure the highest level of critical monitoring and care. Thanks to generous supporters, community members and organizations like the Sandra Schmirler Foundation, the unit is now equipped with 24 wall mounted monitors, two monitors on stands to allow for twin patients in additional bed spaces, and two transport style monitors for well-baby transfers to other hospitals or to take patients off the unit for testing. A new central monitoring station at the unit’s main nursing desk also allows nurses and physicians to have an overview of all of the patients in their care at all times.
“These new monitors are going to be wonderful for families because they will give them peace of mind that even if their nurse is attending to another patient or is at the main nursing desk, they will be able to view the vitals of their child,” Jessica explained.
Every year, Grand River Hospital cares for more than 900 premature and sick infants, and these new monitors will not only enhance care but will help the hospital to keep up with our growing community and increasing neonatal care needs.“Thank you so much, Sandra Schmirler Foundation for this donation to provide new and updated equipment to continue to provide excellent care to our smallest and most fragile patients,” said Sheri Douglas, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Childbirth Program and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Their support will go a long way in giving each baby who receives care in the neonatal intensive care unit a chance at a full, bright future.