Jan Brandt stopped counting at 300. That was the number of births she had participated in at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops during the first few years of her nursing career.
The actual number is much higher. With some 1,200 babies a year born in Kamloops, Jan’s number is in the thousands over more than 15-years in Obstetrics Services, where babies are born at RIH.
These aren’t just Kamloops babies, either. RIH provides labour and birth support to families from all parts of the Thomson Cariboo Shuswap region, from Merritt to Clearwater to Chase and beyond.
“It’s just been fabulous to be a part of so many births,” says Jan. “We are so excited for the changes that are coming to the Obstetrics Services when the new tower opens.”
In the summer of 2022, Jan and her colleagues in labour and delivery, post-partum and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), will find themselves in a new home where they can continue to help so many families at one of the most important times of their lives.
The arrival of the Royal Inland Hospital Patient Care Tower in mid-2022 will bring plenty of change to the RIH campus. At nine storeys tall, it will become the focal point of the hospital, with a new main entrance, large family gathering space, patient registration, and clinical care areas throughout.
On the tower’s third floor you’ll find the new home of RIH Obstetrics Services. Here, new parents will welcome babies into the world, in a bright and spacious area with lots of natural light and plenty of room for families to gather.
“It’s definitely going to enhance the family-centred care that we provide when we move into the new tower,” says Jan. “Family-centred care is about keeping families together as much as possible. The new patient rooms will be bigger to help accommodate families. It’s going to be brighter and comfier and will improve moms and new babies’ journey in our hospital.”
The new department will bring all of the Obstetrics Services closer together in one cohesive department, designed with parents’ needs in mind as well as for the best flow for both patients and health-care providers. The rooms will be large and spacious and include a shower or a tub. Bathrooms will feature sliding “barn” doors, something Jan had requested during the staff input into design of the tower.
“I think the design was a great process,” she says. “It involved the front-line staff, the leadership, the patient care coordinator, physicians, midwives….we all got to provide input into the design of the rooms and how things will flow and best benefit the patients.”
Obstetrical physician Dr. Hilary Baikie is a regular face in RIH Obstetrics Services, having worked in Kamloops for almost 10 years. She says employees and physicians working in the unit are like an extended family themselves. Having a new department coming online is exciting, something to match the skill of the extended Obstetrics team.
“It is an exciting time for obstetrical providers to have the opportunity to practice in a state-of-the-art facility,” says Dr. Baikie. “We view ourselves as an obstetrical family: Physicians, midwives, family doctors, nurses and all allied health professionals. We work closely together as a team, so to have a unit to reflect the impeccable care that we deliver here at RIH will be very rewarding.”
Along with the new Obstetric Services department, the RIH Patient Care Tower will feature single-patient rooms equipped with their own washrooms, new operating rooms, a mental health and substance use unit, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, a new main entrance, atrium, patient registration area, a roof-top helipad and more.
Construction began in the fall of 2018 and the tower will open to patients in the summer of 2022.