The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

The challenge

Our most vulnerable patients are tiny, some of them weighing only 500 grams – slightly more than a pound of butter. These are our region’s premature babies, born before 30 weeks, or more than three months too early.

These preemies are high risk and cared for at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the General Campus of The Ottawa Hospital.

Extremely premature babies require complex care, life support, and round-the-clock monitoring until they reach full-term (39 to 40 weeks). For these little babies to grow and develop they need conditions that mimic the mother’s womb: warmth, oxygen, food and quiet. We attempt to recreate these conditions by artificial means. An incubator simulates warmth, a ventilator helps the baby breath, and intravenous solutions (in combination with the mother’s milk) help the baby grow. The babies also need human touch, and the parent’s presence is key to their thriving and surviving.

Preemie Avalina
Preemie Emily
Preemies Liam and Rhys
Preemie Kylie
Preemie Myra
preemie catherine

Mobile view

Baby Olivia
From the day she was born, Olivia Eberts has been a fighter. Born 115 days before her due date, at 23 weeks and 4 days, she has persevered.




The solution

The Ottawa Hospital is renovating its current NICU facilities at the General Campus to give each baby a separate room. This allows us to individualize each small patient’s environment and provide a family-centric model of care that will also include technology and equipment updates.

Individual rooms for each baby will:

  • Minimize the risk of infection by limiting the number of people in the room.
  • Mean less equipment in each room, resulting in fewer tripping hazards.
  • Allow staff to personalize the control of light, temperature, noise and other stimuli, so that the babies can sleep and develop undisturbed. 
  • Give more privacy to parents and caregivers spending time alone with their child.

How you can help

The Ottawa Hospital is raising $5 million to renovate the NICU at the General Campus. Your generous support will help us expand the NICU and purchase state-of-the-art technology that will give prematurely born babies the best chance at surviving, thriving and growing up.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Van Noort, Vice-President, Philanthropy and Leadership Giving, at [email protected], 613-761-4295.