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midwives Lisa Sabatino and Amanda Comeau
Midwives Lisa Sabatino (right) and Amanda Comeau demonstrate one of the new electronic fetal monitors donated by the Hamilton Health Sciences Volunteer Association
December 12, 2022

Midwifery Care Unit receives fetal monitors with HHSVA donation

Make a Purchase, Make a Difference

The Hamilton Health Sciences Volunteer Association (HHSVA) is a non-profit organization that supports patient care at HHS through the operation of cafes, cafeterias, gift shops and hospital parking. All profits generated are donated to enhance patient care across our family of hospitals.

What do electronic fetal monitors and a cup of coffee have in common?

Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS)’ new Midwifery Care Unit at McMaster Children’s Hospital (MCH) received three electronic fetal monitors thanks in part to dollars spent at hospital cafes and cafeterias, and purchases made at hospital Give (gift) shops.

Latte, 2 cookies and a sandwich

Purchases of food and drinks at HHS cafes and cafeterias support the hospital’s patients, staff and doctors.

HHSVA dollars at work

“We are thrilled to see the addition of the Midwifery Care Unit at MCH and very pleased to support it with this donation,” says Tina Cooper, HHSVA’s executive director.

“This donation was made possible thanks to our staff, doctors, patients and visitors who buy food and drinks at our cafes and cafeterias, and make purchases at our Give (gift) shops.”

This year, HHS was able to invest more than $1.2 million from HHSVA donations to pay for equipment and fund patient care programs.

Lisa Sabatino

Lisa Sabatino, interim deputy chief of midwifery

Other examples of equipment purchased through HHSVA donations included:

  • surgical and diagnostic equipment
  • specialized patient beds and pressure relief mattresses
  • infant swing seats for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
  • sleeper cot chairs for family members staying overnight at a patient’s bedside
  • and funding for ongoing programs such as palliative and patient recreational therapy

Fetal monitors

Fetal monitor

Electronic fetal monitor

Each of the unit’s three birthing rooms has an electronic fetal monitor to track the baby’s heart beat and the pregnant person’s contractions, says Lisa Sabatino, a registered midwife and interim deputy chief of midwifery with the hospital’s obstetrics and gynecology department.

The unit’s services are for low-risk births where complications are unlikely.

HHS patients who don’t use a midwife’s services, or whose pregnancies are considered high risk, are cared for by an obstetrician and give birth in the labour and delivery unit located down the hall from the midwifery unit.

This falafel sandwich is one of the many delicious meals sold at HHS cafeterias.

Hamilton midwives

Hamilton’s community-based midwives attend approximately 800 deliveries a year, with over 90 percent in hospital. “Our unit is ideal for people who want a midwife as their primary care provider, and want to give birth in hospital in a more home-like setting,” says Sabatino. “We offer that perfect balance.”

The fetal monitors aren’t used for every birth. Instead, they’re typically used for more complex low-risk births, or if the pregnant person is getting an epidural to manage pain or being induced to go into labour.

“They’re a vital piece of equipment to have,” says Sabatino. “We’re grateful for this donation, which supports us in delivering the very best and safest care for our clients.”

The new midwifery unit is among the first of its kind in Canada. The only other such unit is at Oak Valley Health’s Markham Stouffville Hospital, which was the first in Canada when it opened in 2018.