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24 Sept 2022

Laois hospital's special baby unit receives important new equipment from bikers

Portlaoise hospital's special baby unit receives important new equipment

Yolanda Fennell, Clinical Nurse Manager, with Jomol Joseph, Staff Nurse, at the Portlaoise hospital Special Care Baby Unit

The HSE says staff at Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise (MRHP) are delighted to have been gifted a new Sound Ear monitor for their Special Care Baby Unit.

The new high-tech Sound Ear monitor allows staff and parents to gauge their noise levels when they are in the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU). It was accepted on behalf of the hospital by Claire Julian, the Nursing Site Manager on duty, from the charity, Bikers Ride Out for Prem.

Many of those involved in the group have had or were closely related to babies who needed specialist care, just after birth.

Yolanda Fennel, the Clinical Nurse Manager who runs the Special Care Baby Unit at MRHP, explains the use of the equipment.

“The Sound Ear monitor, which is actually in the shape of an ear, will be mounted onto a wall. It measures decibels and lights up and flashes orange to remind parents or staff to be quiet, indicating that the room is getting too noisy. Reducing noise levels helps premature babies in terms of their brain and overall development. This is a fantastic donation from the charity Bikers Ride out for Prems,” she said.

Ita Kinsella is the Director of Midwifery at MRHP.

“This equipment is a significant resource which we can use to monitor the recommended noise threshold for babies in the Special Care Baby Unit, particularly during medical rounds and at peak visiting times. I would like to thank the charity for its ongoing continuous fundraising efforts and support for the SCBU.  It is very much appreciated and positively impacts the service provided to babies in the unit,” she said.

Michael Knowles, General Manager at MRHP, was also pleased and grateful.

“We are very grateful for the incredible support we receive from our community each year which means a lot to our staff and patients. The kindness and generosity demonstrated by parents and those closely connected to babies who have spent time in the Special Care Unit is much appreciated,”

The Special Care Baby Unit at MRHP cares for all infants delivered who are sick or who have more than routine care requirements. The HSE adds that the unit is staffed by experienced paediatric and neonatal nurses and midwives and is supported by specialist paediatric teams including neonatology and a range of other Allied Health Professionals who are available 24 hours a day.

Bikers Ride Out For Prems  say they were born from the concerted efforts of a group of bike enthusiasts who were riding under the Blue Daos Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club Banner. The president of the club wanted to stand out from all other motorcycle clubs and do something different to support the community.

They aim to purchase life-saving and life maintaining medical equipment for Irish neonatal units and children’s hospitals where the hospital budget has reached its limit and cannot afford to purchase this necessary equipment. They also want to supply breast pumps for each neonatal units which can be used by parents of premature babies who are not in a financial position to rent this costly equipment thus supplying life-saving breast milk to infants.

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