New day lounge for nursing mothers opens at Seychelles Hospital | 10 August 2019
Spending time at the neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) at the Seychelles Hospital – the ward for babies born ill or prematurely – is a difficult experience for parents and this is made much more difficult without a proper resting area for them.
However a new lounge facility for these parents was officially opened yesterday to cater to their needs and to alleviate the mothers’ hardships and build up their morale.
Prior to the lounge, mothers sat on a bench located at the ward during their routine visits but they expressed that it was hot, uncomfortable and that there was no privacy.
Judy Valentin, whose newborn has been in the NICU for over a month, remarked that although the nurses at the unit have been accommodating and supportive, she has had to sit on a bench outside while visiting her baby on a daily basis.
“I see everyone who are working pass by, everyone who are going up and down[…] but now I thank those who have contributed today to help me and other parents to gain this special room where we can sit down and feel more at ease,” she stated.
The lounge was initiated by members of the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) team at the Ministry of Health and has been funded by the Health Care Agency (HCA), the Soroptimist Club of Victoria and other sponsors.
It is furnished with comfortable, plush sofas, two rocking and reclining chairs, an eating area and a refrigerator and has been designed with the aim of providing a homely environment away from home.
Veronique Bresson, programme manager for maternal health and member of the ECCE team, explained that the project started in 2017 but took a while for it to be completed.
“I wanted to do this project because I realised that the mothers visiting their babies at the NICU did not have a specific area to rest. These mothers are discharged and able to go home after giving birth but unfortunately their babies need to remain behind at the intensive care unit to continue receiving treatments,” Ms Bresson explained.
“We encourage them to come in everyday and participate in their child’s treatments and bond with their babies. It is not easy for these mothers – mentally and physically – since they are still recovering and are in the postnatal stage; it is every mother’s wish to take her baby home after giving birth but some find themselves in the unfortunate situation where they cannot.”
Now that the mothers have a place to call their own, Ms Bresson hopes that they will be further encouraged to visit their babies on a daily basis.
The opening ceremony of the lounge yesterday also consisted of the handing over of a kettle and microwave to be used in the lounge and a spirometer, an equipment used to conduct lung function tests to diagnose health conditions such as cystic fibrosis and asthma.