As the premiere maternity ward in Switzerland and the reference center for at-risk pregnancies, the HUG maternity ward receives all the families in the region who are concerned with issues of prematurity or disorders of the newborn.
More than 4,000 babies are born here each year. 15% of these babies (about 500 per year) must be hospitalized in the Neonatal Unit (Children and Adolescents Department) immediately after being born, while their mamas stay in the maternity ward. Some babies need to stay in the hospital even after their mothers go home. In the stressful context of an at-risk birth, this physical separation imposed by the current structure and equipment aggravates the stress of babies and parents alike, makes breastfeeding complicated, detracts from developing the early mother-child relationship, and hampers communication with support staff. Several medical studies have documented these problems.
As a result, many hospital centers in Europe have implemented solutions to allow mother and child to stay close in the first days of life.
The project’s objective is to avoid separation by offering two types of mother-child accommodations:
- Creation of a maternity hospital structure of 4 beds that is contiguous with the Neonatal Unit, thus allowing mothers receiving postpartum care to be hospitalized near their babies, perhaps even in the same room, in the event of mild neonate pathology.
- Accommodations for mothers who have finished postpartum care but whose newborns must stay in the hospital because of severe pathology. These accommodations will be made by creating 2 hotel rooms without medical care. At the end of the stay covered by insurance (on average, 3 days for giving birth), a mother whose baby needs to stay in the hospital can stay there and remain close to her baby. When the baby can go home, these hotel rooms can also function as a sort of midway station between hospital and home, to make an anxiety-inducing return home easier for parents. Parents would have the option of staying one or two nights at the hospital among the reassuring presence of support staff.
Ms. Sandrine Partridge-Oberson, Administrator, Gynecology and obstetrics Department, Geneva University Hospitals
Dr. Ricardo Pfister, Deputy Head Physician and Clinical Professor, Unit Manager, Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Division, Children and Adolescents Department, Geneva University Hospitals