‘Awesome’ Volunteers Bring New Support to Parents of Infants in Critical Care – Calgary


COVID-19 restrictions mean having a newborn baby in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is even more difficult than usual for parents.

But some dedicated Calgary volunteers are now giving these families the much-needed support.

It comes in the form of a new comfort cart, which volunteers now bring regularly to families at the NICU at Foothills Medical Center in northwest Calgary.

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The Comfort Cart provides free snacks and drinks, along with other complimentary items such as toiletries, slippers, and games, to parents of little patients in the Foothills NICU.

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These parents often struggle to find the time to obtain these kinds of items.

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“Just trying to get out of the hospital or even the NICU to catch something is a real pain,” said Dustin Mackintosh, father of twins at the Foothills NICU.

“You’re usually very busy, whether it’s at the bedside or talking to doctors. “

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The volunteers who operate the Comfort Cart are happy to have the chance to help alleviate the load in this kind of situation.

“It’s a great way to provide items to parents who may be in a very difficult situation,” said volunteer Doyin Abatan. “I just want to be able to help. “

The Comfort Cart project was organized by Calgary’s Ronald McDonald House (RMH), which provides accommodation for out-of-town families who need treatment in the city.

“About 30 percent of our families at Ronald McDonald House in Calgary are here for neonatal intensive care,” said Julie List of RMH.

“It was a way to bring the comfort of Ronald McDonald House in the hospital to families who are at their little one’s bedside.

“Because of COVID, many families are probably feeling a little more isolated. “

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COVID-19 restrictions mean there are limits for visitors to hospitals.

“Right now it’s just me and (Dustin) allowed in, so none of our family have met the twins,” said Shaylene Doucette, mother of twins at the Foothills NICU. “This part has been very hard, very hard, for the family.”

Parents of newborns at the Foothills NICU say they are grateful for the support of the Comfort Cart.

“The volunteers, they’re great, very nice,” Mackintosh said. “It’s good when there aren’t so many happy moments in a day. “

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