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Comfort is Restored in the NICU Lounge at CHEO

May 7, 2021

Comfort is Restored in the NICU Lounge at CHEO

Now, more than ever, it is important to show appreciation for those courageous superheroes working on the frontlines, especially our health care workers!


The nurses, physicians and supportive staff at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) work around the clock providing the best care for children and youth, all while offering support to concerned parents.


More specifically, CHEO’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) tirelessly cares for critically ill and high-risk newborns. 


Carrying such vital responsibility, the team endures long hours and high-stress situations on a daily basis, which can be physically and mentally demanding. With this, it is essential for the NICU employees to have a comfortable place to rest and rejuvenate throughout their shift.


Tina Lepage, a registered nurse in the NICU and a chairperson of the NICU QWL committee, realized it was time for the furniture in the NICU staff lounge to be updated. She knows first-hand that the team in the NICU deserve a comfortable place to kick up their feet.


In turn, the CHEO NICU and La-Z-Boy Ottawa and Kingston have worked in collaboration to restore the comfort of the CHEO NICU staff lounge. 


Read on to learn more about the CHEO NICU and how their staff lounge has been upgraded with a furniture donation from La-Z-Boy.

What is the CHEO NICU?


The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, otherwise referred to as the NICU, is a unit at CHEO, where staff care for critically ill and high-risk newborn babies. 


(NICU is pronounced “NIK-yoo”)


The NICU at CHEO is a level 3 unit. This means that they provide the highest level of care for babies born at the youngest gestational ages to those at full-term. 


The babies under the care of the NICU receive neonatal intensive care which can include breathing (ventilatory) support and specialty services from one or more specialty medical or surgical teams at CHEO. 


In addition to providing hospital care to newborns in a 20-bed unit, CHEO also facilitates the transfer of critically ill infants. The Neonatal Transport Team is available 24 hours/day, seven days/week to provide stabilization for safe and seamless transfer of critically ill infants to an appropriate unit. 


While providing life-saving critical care to medically fragile and ill newborns, the team at CHEO’s NICU offers a range of ongoing and meaningful medical services. 


The NICU team runs a follow-up growth and developmental screening clinic for infants and children who had complications in the neonatal period. 


Patients seen in the clinic have been admitted to one of the Neonatal Intensive Care Units in the City of Ottawa or have been admitted from another center. Children are seen every four, ten, and eighteen months during gentinaional ages and at four years of age. More frequent assessments are provided as required. 


Moreover, the NICU offers services from lactation consultants to help new parents navigate feeding issues to ensure their baby is getting the nutrition and bonding time they need.

How the COVID-19 Pandemic has Affected the CHEO NICU …


The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult period of time for everyone, including the families of newborn babies. 


During this time, the physicians and nurses are faced with extra responsibility in keeping mothers and newborn babies safe. Not only is the NICU team responsible for the health of the newborn babies, but they are also concerned with the risk of spreading the virus. 


This involves separating babies from their COVID-19 positive mothers and putting the babies through a period of isolation until their COVID-19 test results. Thankfully, the CHEO NICU has not had any babies test positive thus far. 


While these measures have proven successful in managing the spread of the virus, it has resulted in separating the baby from his or her family during a crucial bonding period after birth. This is especially difficult for mothers as they have just given birth and are often not well enough to visit on their own.


As the province-wide lockdowns progressed, the team at the NICU (this is a CHEO organization-wide exceptional circumstance, not just for the NICU) have taken the liberty of making exceptions for parents depending on the unique circumstances of each case.


Although the NICU continues to run smoothly, the physicians and nurses miss their volunteers during this time. The NICU team says the volunteers are so helpful in cuddling and rocking the babies while also making sure the linen and diaper carts are filled.  


Despite such added responsibility and loss of their valued volunteers, the physicians and nurses of the CHEO NICU continue to offer exceptional care throughout such uncertain times.

An Updated NICU Lounge by La-Z-Boy Furniture Donation

As a local Ontario business, La-Z-Boy Ottawa and Kingston greatly appreciate the hard work of the CHEO NICU team and value their consistent contribution to the community. 


“When a staff member from the NICU  contacted us to alert us with the need of a lounge update, there was no question that we would help the amazing people at CHEO with a complete makeover,” said Ron Mathurin, President of La-Z-Boy Home Furnishings Ottawa & Kingston.


In order to update the NICU lounge promptly, La-Z-Boy donated furniture from our in-stock products


On Thursday, April 8th, the NICU team was excited and appreciative of the arrival of new La-Z-Boy furniture for their lounge.

The Rowan Leather Reclining Sofa


The Rowan Leather Rocker Recliner


The Hammary Chairside Side Table from the Jefferson Collection


Canadel Dining Set from the Gourmet Collection


This donation will give the staff in the CHEO NICU a place to decompress, gather their thoughts, and spend time with colleagues. 


Given the high-stress nature of the NICU, it is essential for the staff to have a place where they can eat, rehydrate, and confer with each other, taking a moment away from the fast pace to process information and make clear plans.


The nurses are especially loving the new furniture. Weeks after the pieces were delivered, they are still the talk of the unit!

“The nurses and staff of the NICU would like to send a huge thanks to La-Z-Boy for the wonderful donation! The NICU can be stressful at times, leaving us little time to have a break. Our lounge is a haven away from the bedside, a place to decompress and gather our thoughts and have a meal with colleagues. The old furniture was broken and the couch full of holes, making the lounge uncomfortable! We are truly grateful to La-Z-Boy for making our lounge beautiful and comfortable again! Our delivery went smoothly and the gentlemen that came to install the new furniture were amazing, even taking the old furniture away! Thank you, your donation has made a huge difference in our quality of work life!”


What’s Next?


At La-Z-Boy Ottawa & Kingston, we were honoured to have had the opportunity to contribute to the CHEO NICU and restore comfort for our hard-working health care workers. 


If you would like to show your appreciation for the CHEO NICU , you may be interested in making a donation of your own or starting your own fundraising page. 


Visit the CHEO Donation page to give back today!


In company with the NICU team, everyone is deserving of comfort. If you are looking for comfortable, quality, and stylish furniture for your home, we are here for you!


Visit us at a local Ottawa or Kingston showroom or plan ahead by scheduling a visit online. 


If you prefer, we also offer virtual appointments allowing you to shop from the comfort of your home. 


Related Links:


CHEO Dream Home 2020: Furnished by La-Z-Boy / Designed by Tanya Collins 

A Catalog of the Furniture in the 2020 CHEO Dream Home

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