City Centre Mirror
With an eye to improving care for mothers and newborn babies, Mount Sinai Hospital is in the midst of a massive upgrade to its women’s and infants’ care areas.
The new David and Stacey Cynamon Mother and Baby Unit marks the first stage of an ongoing, five-year capital redevelopment project that has seen six newly built floors added atop the hospital.
The Mother and Baby Unit, where mothers and babies will stay following delivery, was designed in collaboration with those for whom comfort, care and convenience is most important – new families.
“During the design process, we invited families to participate and join a design team that included clinicians, doctors, nurses, social workers and midwives,” said Julie Tagi of Mount Sinai. “They influenced everything from the positions of the beds to the colour palette. We had a very family-centred approach.”
The end result will ensure better care for mothers and babies, she said. With some 7,000 births taking place at the hospital each year, some 1,600 of which are high-risk pregnancies requiring special care, the hospital had to upgrade its services.
The Mother and Baby Unit includes 40 patient rooms, 26 of which are private. Importantly, the unit has two rooms for bariatric patients – mothers who have mobility problems – and two that have been set up to accommodate dialysis.
“Normally, the mom would have had to go to Toronto General or to another facility to get dialysis treatment,” Tagi said. “We needed to bring those things together, because when a mother has complications, once the baby comes out, the mom doesn’t stop having those needs.”
Bathrooms in the bariatric rooms feature graded, non-slip draining floors and barrier-free showers, meaning moms no longer have to step into a tub to get clean.
“It’s not exactly optimal for patients, especially those with mobility problems or who have just had a difficult birth, to have to step in and out of the tub,” Tagi said.
The rooms wrap around the hospital, ensuring patients get natural light. Mothers can also control the lighting in their rooms from their beds and watch TV or surf the Internet on maneuverable screens that overhang the beds.
Each room includes a reclining chair that can be used either by mothers to breastfeed their babies or by partners who are staying overnight.
“We had one dad who said, ‘I think I’ve hit the chair lottery because this was the most comfortable sleep I’ve ever had,’” Tagi said.
The entire ward is also far quieter than it was before, and includes a family lounge where families and friends can relax, bring and prepare their own food and decompress.
“We got a lot of input from patients that they wanted it to be more family oriented and more like a home environment,” Tagi said.
The Mother and Baby Unit includes pressure isolation rooms to help prevent the spread of contagious illnesses and, in the event of a pandemic, the unit can be separated to cater to exposed and non-exposed patients.
Pull cords in each bed will alert medical staff if a patient needs care, and doctors and nurses can access the rooms quicker thanks to decentralized care stations throughout the unit.
Mount Sinai is continuing with its redevelopment, with acute care facilities for the elderly next in line to be upgraded.