Hometown St.Thomas Villager Jan/Feb

A beautiful place to weather the storm By Staci Rae The birth of a child is stressful at the best of times, but when that child is born with special needs and requires an extended stay in the hospital, the emotional drain can be unimaginable. Add to that the challenge of commuting to the hospital daily to be with your child, and it’s easy to see how the stress can very quickly reach a fever pitch. St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital makes every effort to live up to their “Family Centered Care” philosophy. They understand that the ability to be close to one another during the healing process is beneficial to both parent and baby and to help reach that goal, they’ve created a “Care by Parent” residence, which was officially unveiled in December. This residence, which feels very much like a beautifully appointed hotel suite, is located just down the hall from the Special Care Nursery. The residence is decorated in calming, soothing hues of blues, taupe, and cream, creating a serene, welcoming atmosphere for parents. The residence features a cozy sitting area and kitchenette, a spacious bedroom for parents, and another anteroom with a couple of comfortable chairs and soft lighting, perfect for feeding or snuggling with those tiny miracles, or simply for catching a moment or two to oneself during those difficult times. Thiswas trulyacommunityproject. Several local businesses such as GCW Custom Kitchens & Cabinetry and Hayhoe Homes helped bring this important project to life through in- kind donations, in addition to vigorous fundraising through events such as 2016’s Girls Night Out with Tessa Virtue.

This project is very close to my heart. When I was born (ahem) more than 40 years ago with Spina Bifida, I was immediately rushed from the hospital in Toronto’s east end all the way downtown to Sick Kids for spinal surgery, leaving my mother, who had had a c-section, behind to wait and worry on her own. She wasn’t able to hold me, or even see me, until 9 days – 9 days! – after I was born, and she had to commute from Scarborough to downtown Toronto to be with me after that (when she wasn’t sleeping on a cot or chair in the hospital). Moreover, my dad was torn between wanting to be with his newborn daughter in one hospital and wanting to be with his wife in another. The Care by Parent residence ensures this scenario will not have to happen to families who choose to have their babies at STEGH, and for that I am very grateful.

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261 Talbot St. West, St. Thomas 519-631-2117 *Most vehicles. Call for details. Offers expire Jan. 31, 2019

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Page 2 Hometown St. Thomas • January-February 2019 To advertise here, please contact Geoff@villagerpublications.com

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