RBWH Foundation Funds LifeSaving Premature Baby Technology

Friday 21 February 2020

Each year more than 1,600 premature and sick newborns are admitted to the Grantley Stable Neonatal Unit at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, requiring specialist care and management. Sick babies can be admitted to the Neonatal Unit from the hospital or transferred from other hospitals across regional Queensland and northern New South Wales through South East Queensland’s Neonatal Retrieval Service (NeoRESQ), which is based at the RBWH.

Professional training, education and preparation are crucial to the success of the NeoRESQ Service. Simulation tools such as ‘Premature Anne’ are an essential part of providing medical staff with realistic experiences to help save the tiniest of lives. “Premature Anne represents a 25-week old, 750-gram premature baby,” says NeoRESQ Doctor, Sam Cruise. “We have seen even smaller babies at 23-weeks old, weighing approximately 500 grams,” he said. The tool, which simulates respiratory illnesses and seizures, is vital for training staff in assessing, diagnosing and providing proper care and resuscitation of preterm infants.

NeoRESQ Medical Director, Lucy Cooke, says whilst NeoRESQ’s highly skilled teams are well supported in the intensive care unit at the RBWH, it is essential this confidence is transferred when teams travel independently to regional centres. “This is why simulation is so important. We can undertake training here at the hospital or take Premature Anne to remote and regional areas for educational programs in neonatal stabilisation,” Lucy says. The training tool is particularly helpful for healthcare professionals to simulate real-life medical scenarios, receive educational feedback, and prepare for the unexpected. “We want teams to be as skilled as they possibly can be and work towards ensuring regional, rural and remote patients can access health outcomes comparable to those in metropolitan areas,” Lucy says.

The NeoRESQ Service is now looking for help to raise funds to purchase a new full simulation baby called ‘Premature Paul’ at a cost of $90,000. RBWH Nurse Educator, Li-An Collie, who has over 20 years’ experience in neonatal care, says the new tool would provide many more opportunities for staff. “Premature Paul would be very valuable. It would allow us to train for more complex scenarios and further improve the quality of simulation”.

If you would like to improve the outcomes for premature babies throughout the state and support the work of the NeoRESQ, hold a fundraising event for the RBWH Foundation or donate directly here.

Premature Anne