Works Resume on Extension of Neonatal Unit at University Maternity Hospital Limerick
Work commences on the second phase of the extension of the Neonatal Unit at University Maternity Hospital Limerick
No interruption in service is anticipated for babies and families in the Midwest for the expected 12-month duration of the construction works.
The second phase of the project includes the upgrade of the existing Intensive Care and High Dependency Units. A new area for the Special Care Unit is also being provided as well as additional single en suite family rooms. This upgrading and refurbishment will expand the physical space and greatly improve the facilities and infrastructure for babies and their families. It will also help to avoid crowding and reduce the chances of infection outbreaks.
It follows the completion last year of the first phase of this project. Phase one involved building a two-storey extension to accommodate staff and parents’ facilities which had been located in the existing neonatal unit, creating the opportunity to refurbish and expand cot spaces during the second stage of the works.
Phase one houses parents’ accommodation, a new lactation centre to support breastfeeding, and a clinical engineering unit, as well as support facilities for neonatal nurses, doctors, allied health professionals and secretarial teams.
The Neonatal Unit is situated on the ground floor of the University Maternity Hospital Limerick. It is a 19-cot unit comprising the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, a High Dependency Unit and a Special Care Baby Unit. This is where critically ill, premature and unwell newborn infants in the Midwest are cared for. This unit also functions at times as a referral centre for newborn babies from outside of the region.
Among the more common reasons babies are admitted to the Neonatal Unit are prematurity, breathing problems needing respiratory support, neonatal jaundice and feeding issues.
This two-phase neonatal refurbishment project is one of a number of initiatives being undertaken to improve services at UMHL, pending the eventual relocation of the maternity hospital from its stand-alone city centre site on the Ennis Road to the University Hospital Limerick (UHL) campus in Dooradoyle.
The Neonatal Unit is a secure area and any changes in access during the course of the project will be communicated directly to families. Construction works will be carried out on a phased basis to ensure no reduction in current service levels.
Ms Eileen Ronan, Director of Midwifery at UMHL, said: “We welcome the refurbishment of our Neonatal Unit, which will enhance the facilities and infrastructure for our neonates who require specialised care. The refurbishment project will also provide facilities for multidisciplinary team working in the neonatal unit.”
Prof Roy K Philip, Consultant Neonatologist, UL Hospitals Group, commented: “The second phase of our Neonatal Unit refurbishment project will offer internationally recommended evidence-based design and family-centred care facilities to the vulnerable newborn infants of the Midwest, and their families.”