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May 27, 2024

West Lincoln Memorial Hospital receives funding for ‘round the clock midwife care

GRIMSBY, ON – Hamilton Health Sciences’ West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH) will be enhancing midwifery care and expanding the obstetrics program thanks to new funding from the Ontario government. This annual operational funding of $975,000 will enable WLMH to staff a hospitalist midwife 24/7 and establish a new outpatient newborn clinic.

The investment is a part of the Ontario Ministry of Health’s Expanded Midwifery Care Model (EMCM) program. This program aims to improve access to midwifery services in communities with demonstrated needs and expand the options for midwife-delivered care to a broader patient population.

“We are extremely grateful for the support of our provincial government which will ensure that expecting families in the Niagara West community have enhanced access to this vital care,” says Leslie Gillies, Vice President of Nursing, Practice and Education, and Community Health and Executive Lead of WLMH. “Because of the EMCM funding, midwifery services will be better integrated and available to meet the entire spectrum of care and support services required by patients.”

“This is great news for expecting families in West Niagara,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West. “I was born at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital and I know the vital importance of access to local labour and delivery services.  The expansion of midwifery services at the new hospital is a significant step for increased health care in our community.”

The addition of a 24/7 hospitalist midwife and establishment of a newborn outpatient clinic will strengthen the hospital’s obstetrics department by ensuring adequate resources and timely discharges.

Hospitalist midwives – registered midwives who work in a hospital setting – offer a unique skillset and work collaboratively with obstetricians, family physicians and nursing staff within the obstetrics unit. Within their scope, they will support uncomplicated births, provide intrapartum care during staffing shortages, mentor nurses in intrapartum skills, aid in urgent situations such as a newborn needing resuscitation, and serve as surgical first assistants for intrapartum C-sections.

The new outpatient clinic will be staffed by midwives seven days a week. The clinic will provide a connection between the hospital and community-based care as it promotes timely discharge planning and care for patients and babies needing follow up, breastfeeding support, and primary care to babies who do not have a primary care physician or have a primary care physician with limited capacity.

With this funding and the opening of the new WLMH hospital facility slated for mid-2025, Pilar Chapman, registered midwife and the site lead of midwifery at WLMH, is optimistic about the future of obstetrical and newborn care in Niagara West.

“The expansion of midwifery services at WLMH is another step towards transforming care in the region,” says Pilar Chapman, West Lincoln Midwives. “We will be working hard in the coming months to establish these programs to ensure a seamless transition in the new hospital.”

About WLMH

WLMH is a site of Hamilton Health Sciences. It has been providing caring to West Niagara residents for over 70 years. As a community hospital, WLMH provides both inpatient services and outpatient services, including obstetrics care. WLMH obstetrics unit is comprised of seven beds and is designated as a level 1B obstetrics centre which specializes in care for low-risk patients. The obstetrics unit will continue to be a signature program in the newly rebuilt WLMH, which is currently under construction and slated to open in mid-2025.

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