Big Siblings In Training

How the Sibling Support Centre is expanding the Hospital’s family-centred model of care.

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Meet Noah. Colouring enthusiast. Imaginary play extraordinaire. Bestest big brother to former NICU patient, Lily.

When Noah’s little sister was born she needed a lot of extra care. So much so she spent over several months receiving specialized support alongside her parents in the BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

The NICU provides the highest quality of care to parents and newborns, but what about siblings like Noah? For many families, providing the attention their other kids need while navigating appointments, a sick newborn, and other medical complications can add an extra layer of stress to an already challenging situation.

Luckily for Noah, and over 120 kids since 2021, this is exactly what the Sibling Support Centre is for. Primarily used by NICU siblings, the Centre opened during the pandemic as a collaborative pilot project between BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre and BC Children’s Hospital — funded by their Auxiliaries.

The volunteer-led space is dedicated to including siblings in the hospitals’ family-centred model of care while creating fun and engaging experiences for them.

“The centre helps siblings know that they are seen and heard, and brings awareness that they are a part of the patient’s care team too,” says Rhiannon, the Centre’s Coordinator, on why she feels it is so important. “I see families looking relieved and siblings excited to have undivided attention, often asking ‘when can I come back?’”

Noah visited the Sibling Support Centre 27 times during Lily’s stay. It was an experience his parents are incredibly grateful for and one that he will likely never forget as part of his journey to becoming the best big brother ever.

In the future, the Centre hopes to expand their services so that even more kids can access the special care they provide.

Note: Names were replaced to protect patient and family confidentiality.

Our 2022 Fall Impact Report, INVISIBLE TO INVINCIBLEhighlights a handful of ways that your investments are amplifying the voices of women, bridging the gender gap in women’s health research, and helping to fund vital equipment and upgrades at the province’s dedicated women’s hospital.