Thank you for giving Flinders’ sickest and tiniest babies the best start in life

Posted 29 Jun 2021

A range of new equipment has arrived in the Flinders Neonatal Unit to help more than 1,400 sick and premature babies cared for each year, thanks to your generosity.

Among this vital equipment is a Giraffe OmniBed Carestation which has been in constant use since its arrival by babies needing intensive care.

The cot mimics in utero conditions, promotes faster healing, and has inbuilt scales so babies don’t have to be moved to be weighed.

“With so many monitoring cords and often a ventilator attached to them, it can take up to three staff to move a baby, and they also lose a lot of heat each time - this bed is very helpful in keeping babies warm and stable,” Neonatal Associate Nurse Unit Manager, Jacquie Glazbrook explains.

“The lid also glides up vertically for very quick and easy access if babies need resuscitation or urgent care.”

Little Marcel, who was born at 24 weeks and transferred by air from Alice Springs, was among the first to use ‘the Giraffe’. With its special access and technology, it even enabled doctors to perform two surgeries at Marcel’s bedside, instead of transporting him to theatre.

Some of the unit’s sickest and most unstable babies have also been using a new monitor which features a small ring that attaches to the baby’s skin to monitor CO2 levels in their tissue. It provides constant monitoring and removes the need for heel prick blood tests every four to 12 hours.

“If a baby’s CO2 level goes up, we can immediately respond and make some suction or ventilation changes if they need,” Jacquie says.

“It provides a lot of comfort for parents, because it’s not nice to think of your tiny baby getting so many blood tests.”

The Neonatal Unit provides specialised care for up to 50 babies at any one time, born from 23 weeks gestation.

“We’re grateful for the generosity which makes this possible, 

Neonatal medicine is everchanging and there’s always new technology available which can help lead to better outcomes… and what we want is the best outcomes for our little babies." Jacquie says.

Thanks to you, these items are also making their way to the NICU!

  • A Neurally Adjusted Ventilatory Assist (NAVA) mechanical ventilator. This machine synchronises with a baby’s breathing, and provides them with extra breathing support when they get tired.
  • A video laryngoscope to help train the next generation of neonatal doctors. This means doctors can see a baby’s vocal cords on screen while observing an intubation.
  • A second Giraffe Omnibed Carestation.

The NICU team are also working on a bespoke camera system, allowing parents to view their babies on their phone or laptop, around the clock, even when they can’t be with them.

The Photo above shows a ‘test camera’ in use in the NICU. Stay tuned for further updates.

Along with your generosity, this equipment was funded thanks to support from Amy Purling and the Fun Run for Prems community, the Volunteer Service for the Flinders Medical Centre and Masonic Charities South Australia.


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