No more sleeping on the floor at Christchurch Women's Hospital after $65k raised for comfy new chairs

Photo: Māia Health Foundation
Photo: Māia Health Foundation
When a support person stays with a new mum and baby at Christchurch Women's Hospital - they won't have to sleep on the floor anymore, thanks to the Māia Health Foundation.

The foundation has raised more than $65,000 in one-month, smashing its target, to purchase specialist chairs for the hospital’s maternity services.

The charity set out last month to raise $40,000 for 20 new chairs to replace the hard vinyl seats and vinyl floor mats currently used at the hospital. But the extra money raised means Māia can now supply 30 chairs.

Most of the new chairs will go on level 5 at Christchurch Women’s Hospital. 

The specialist lie-flat chairs will provide a comfortable place for a support person to stay alongside a new mother and baby. The mums who stay post-birth at Christchurch Women’s Hospital are either unwell themselves, have just had surgery, or their baby is unwell.

Director of midwifery for the Canterbury and West Coast DHB, Norma Campbell, said these women and babies need support and, while support people are encouraged to stay alongside a new mum and baby, it’s tough when they can’t offer them a welcoming or comfortable place to sleep.

Campbell said the new chairs are going to change that.

"I’ve had to pinch myself a few times over the last month – we’ve been so humbled by the support this campaign has received," said Campbell.

"From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to everyone who has played a part in raising this money. The difference you will make for new mamas, pēpi and whānau is immense."

The new chairs are designed for hospital environments and would be out of the way of staff.

During the day they can be used as a sofa chair for visitors or breastfeeding mums, and in the evening they convert into a lie-flat bed.

Each year, more than 5500 women give birth at Christchurch Women’s Hospital, making it the largest secondary/tertiary hospital in the South Island and the hub for the Fetal Maternal Medicine Service.

The Maternity Ward on level five of the hospital has 45 beds and is at 80-90 per cent capacity most of the time.

Said Māia Health Foundation GM fundraising and marketing Anna Galvan: "We’ve always said it takes a community to care, and once again our community has shown caring is what they do best.

"This campaign was about more than a chair, it was about bringing families together at the most vital time and supporting our dedicated maternity services, and we’re delighted to have achieved that.

Of the 30 chairs Māia is purchasing, one will also go directly to the Kaikōura Health Centre Birthing Unit.

Two chairs will be provided to the Ashburton Community Maternity Unit. And another chair will go to the Garden Room, a special room at Christchurch Women’s Hospital where mothers deliver babies that have died in utero.

Said Canterbury DHB chief executive Dr Peter Bramley: "We’re privileged to have Māia working alongside the Canterbury DHB to support and improve our health services.

"Over the last five years Māia’s contribution to our health system has been immense.

"It’s not surprising that to celebrate turning five years old Māia has once again taken our health services from good to great through this maternity chair initiative, which we know will make an enormous difference to families accessing our maternity services," said Bramley.




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