After three and a half years of delay, Notre-Dame hospital will finally open its birthing unit on November 27. Facing a staff shortage, the hospital center is still looking for nurses to fill positions in the new department as well as in the operating room where cesarean sections will take place. Ultimately, some 1,500 women will be able to give birth each year in the facilities.
“We are going to start at 50% of our capacity”, specifies in an interview with The duty Jason Champagne, director of the youth program at the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal.
Six positions, mainly nurses, remain to be filled in the family-birth unit, which has 16 beds and 6 cradles in neonatology. Jason Champagne hopes this will be done quickly. According to him, caregivers were hesitant to take the plunge, as the unit was not yet in operation.
“Until you start, it’s more difficult to be attractive to nurses,” he says. He emphasizes that those who are hired will work one weekend in three, rather than one in two as in other hospitals.
A project that dates
The family-birth unit project, worth $24.7 million, has been in development since 2016 at Notre-Dame hospital. The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed it down, as has the labor shortage. The construction site also experienced delays.
But the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal now assures that this date is the correct one. An “open house” day is being prepared. The population will be informed “over the coming days or weeks” of how to proceed to give birth at Notre-Dame. “Parents who are followed at the hospital’s outpatient obstetrics clinic will be prioritized,” indicates CIUSSS spokesperson Jean-Nicolas Aubé.
The new unit will be dedicated to “low-risk” pregnancies (of mothers whose diabetes is regulated, for example), “which will limit the volume of emergency interventions, the use of operating theaters and the pressure on the teams in place,” specifies the CIUSSS.
The nursery will accommodate babies aged 34 weeks and over (weighing at least 1800 grams at birth) who require special care.