Covenant Health
This week's reflection

This week's reflection

Teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.

Patrick Lencioni

Misericordia opens state-of-the-art unit to care for pre-term babies

November 21, 2016

2013 flood leads to redevelopment opportunity to improve care

Edmonton -The Misericordia Community Hospital is celebrating the opening of a new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) which will contribute to better outcomes for some of the tiniest and most fragile patients and their families.

The Misericordia’s NICU plays an essential role in caring for hundreds of pre-term babies born in the Edmonton Zone and northern Alberta each year, and contributes to Covenant Health’s mission to care for the most vulnerable.

A substantial flood at the hospital in 2013 created an opportunity to improve the design and capacity of NICU space.

The old NICU had two pods with a total of 15 beds; the new design features 23 private rooms, including two rooms specifically for twins.

“This will dramatically improve care. It will be healthier for babies than caring for them side by side in a large room,” says Gail Cameron, Senior Director Operations, Women’s and Child Health, Misericordia and Grey Nuns. “Having a quieter space tailored specifically to their needs and increased privacy makes it easier for families to spend more time with their infants. It can help a baby grow faster and decrease their length of stay in the NICU.”

The new NICU will also allow the Misericordia to take care of babies born earlier, at 30 weeks down from 32.

“This project is a wonderful investment in Alberta families, supporting premature infants when they are most vulnerable,” says Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health. “I am very pleased the Misericordia took this opportunity to take the already great care provided here and make it even better.”

“Health care organizations need to be resilient and this NICU is an outstanding example of what can happen when adversity is turned into opportunity,” says Dr. Verna Yiu, President and CEO of Alberta Health Services. “I applaud Covenant Health and its staff, physicians and volunteers for overcoming significant challenges but also for putting patient care first when planning on how to recover from the flood.”

The 2013 flood also did a lot of damage to the mental health unit on the second floor which was also seen as an opportunity to rebuild and improve care for mental health patients. The new space has more private and semi private rooms and new therapy space, including an exercise area.

“I want recognize our staff for their patience, resilience and unwavering dedication to our patients through what has been a long and challenging road to get to this point,” says Patrick Dumelie, Covenant Health President and CEO. “The flood was an adversity, but these new units will ensure the Misericordia remains a vibrant part of Alberta's integrated health system.”

The total cost of rebuilding the two units is $17.7 million. The Covenant Foundation is contributing $2.5 million plus an extra $1.7 million for equipment and the remaining $15.2 million is coming from Government and Alberta Health Services.

Both units will be fully operational by the end November.

For additional information, please click here to download the backgrounder


Jacqueline Janelle      
Communications Manager    

Tadra Boulton
Communications Director
Covenant Health                                                      
Alberta Health Services
780- 905-6259

Covenant Health is Canada's largest Catholic health care organization with over 15,000 physicians, employees and volunteers serving in 12 communities across Alberta. A major provider in Alberta's integrated health system, Covenant Health works with Alberta Health Services and community partners to positively influence the health of Albertans through a broad range of programs and services.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.