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'We see you:' New NICU honours northern B.C. families and healthcare teams

Closer to Home campaign will let more mothers and newborns be treated here in Terrace
Haze McDaniel is a third-year midwifery student who plans to return to Terrace to practice and sees firsthand the impact a new Tier 3 Neonatal ICU/special care nursery will have at Terrace's hospital.

Growing up in Terrace, Haze McDaniel knew that giving back to their community would be essential to their career plans. 

As a young adult, encouraging women in Haze's life suggested they'd make an exceptional doula, who could support and advocate for maternity care in the B.C. North. After experiencing their sister's pregnancy and the birth of their niece, Haze was excited to expand their training and experience, and pursue a midwifery degree. 

Today, as a third-year midwifery student, Haze sees firsthand the impact a new Tier 3 Neonatal ICU/special care nursery will have at Terrace's hospital, built as part of the Mills Memorial Hospital replacement project. The “Closer to Home” campaign, led by the R.E.M. Lee Hospital Foundation and supported by the community, will bring the most current models of care for many higher-risk, expectant women who walk through the hospital’s doors.

"One of the big challenges in the north for pregnant parents and their newborns is specialized healthcare, and when you do have to travel for those services, the level of disruption for the families is significant," Haze notes.

In all, more than 75,000 people, including 40,000 in 28 area First Nations communities, will benefit from the improvements to newborn care. The facility will care for births as early as 34 weeks in regular cases and 32 weeks in emergencies, rather than the current 37 weeks, meaning vulnerable babies and anxious mothers will have access in and near their own communities and families, instead of leaving to receive care in Vancouver or Prince George.

When concerns arise with a pregnancy or birth, and mother and baby need to travel far from home, the added costs – emotionally, physically and financially – bring considerable added burdens. 

"It will be a really wonderful move in harm reduction," Haze says.

Another welcome benefit of the new NICU will be retention of local healthcare professionals and attraction of newcomers, who’ll have the tools and resources to care for higher-risk women and infants here at home.

"The new facilities are a sign of respect for the healthcare providers in our region – 'We see you, we understand,'" Haze says. 

Recognizing how hard Terrace doctors and nurses are working to care for mothers and babies, Haze is keen to support them, especially by helping with lower-risk pregnancies, giving them more time and resources for more complicated cases.

"It's important that these providers have our support. I'm grateful for everything they do and the NICU is going to be really wonderful for the whole region."

For more information and to support this crucial fundraising effort for the new NICU in Terrace, visit:


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New neonatal unit for Northwest BC will be life-changing for expectant mothers and newborns