Uniting premature babies with their parents

Kelowna residents fund purchase of eight Kangaroo Care Chairs for Kelowna General Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Kangaroo care chair.

The Kelowna General Hospital Foundation is saying a big ‘thank you’ to residents of Kelowna today. Earlier this month, the foundation communicated a need for new Kangaroo Care Chairs, a specialized recliner used in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

The original need was for four chairs at $2,500 each, but thanks to the generosity of Kelowna residents, a total of $20,000 was raised, allowing for the purchase of eight chairs. With space for 14 beds in the new NICU opening this March, a Kangaroo Care Chair will now be placed at over half of the beds resulting in less moving around and sharing.

These chairs are aptly named as they promote a form of care known as Kangaroo Care – uniting premature infants with their parents through the gift of touch.

Skin-to-skin contact has been shown to stabilize the baby’s heart rate, improve breathing, sleep time and overall result in a healthier baby with earlier hospital discharge. For parents, the physical connection increases the emotional bond between new moms and dads and their precious preemies, as well improves breast milk supply and encourages confidence as they embrace their new role.

Providing regular and consistent bonding through touch can be difficult for long periods of time in a typical upright chair. A Kangaroo Care Chair is able to recline at just the right angle so therapeutic skin-to-skin contact is comfortable and can be sustained for many hours.

The Kangaroo Care Chair is a specialized item not provided through government funding, one of an impressive number of items on the foundation’s fundraising list. Their campaign, Giving Giggles, raising funds in support of the new Perinatal Unit, runs through the fall of 2016. To learn more, visit givinggiggles.ca.


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