Scarborough and Rouge Hospital (SRH) celebrated children who were cared for in the hospital’s three neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) at a special event to recognize World Prematurity Day.

World Prematurity Day is a globally-renowned educational event that raises awareness about premature births, while also enhancing and celebrating the lives of “preemies” and their families. Approximately one in 10 babies are born preterm each year worldwide.

“Our event provides families, who in some cases spent weeks together in the NICUs, the opportunity to share experiences, see how well each other’s children are thriving, and reconnect with hospital staff and physicians,” said Dr. Karen Chang, a neonatologist and Chief of Paediatrics SRH’s Centenary site.  “It’s also a joy for us as health care providers to be able to see how much these children have grown and how far they have come.”

For Keshia Ince-Castellas, the World Preemie Day event is the perfect way to celebrate how far her little one has come. Her son Isaiah spent five weeks in the NICU at the Centenary site this past spring.  “The staff and physicians are truly miracle workers.  I knew Isaiah was receiving the best care, which also allowed me to be able to recuperate after his delivery and I will always be grateful for that,” she said.

Keshia also welcomed the chance to talk with the other families. “It helps you feel like you are not alone, receive advice, and learn from others,” she added.

SRH has the fourth largest maternal newborn program in Ontario, with more than 1,000 babies cared for in the three NICUs, and approximately 6,400 babies born in the hospital’s three birthing units each year. Level 2C NICUs able to care for newborns as premature as 30 weeks are located at the Centenary and General sites.

“We are proud of the outstanding patient and family centred care we provide in our NICUs,” said Dr. Peter Azzopardi, Chief of Paediatrics for SRH’s Birchmount and General sites.

“Our staff empowers parents and caregivers to take care of their preemies so they can be comfortable with this role when they get home.  And, parents with at risk newborns also have access to the multidisciplinary team in our Neonatal Follow-Up Clinics to monitor and improve the developmental outcomes of their children.”

Photos from SRH’s World Preemie Day event are available on the hospital’s Flickr page.