Improving infant care begins with the right neonatal equipment.
After a baby is born, it is immediately exposed to various types of external stress, including light, sound, temperature fluctuations and human handling.
Whilst some of these stress are inevitable, the appropriate neonatal equipment can help reduce them to ensure the newborn is in a stress-free environment.
Renato Antolovich, Sales Manager for Infant Care and Maternity at Parker Healthcare says the right neonatal equipment will be able to improve patient care by ensuring the newborn is in a safe environment, even in its most fragile state.
"Infants need a warm and stress-free environment, which is what hospitals and newborn ICU departments should bear in mind when buying neonatal equipment," Antolovich said.
He says whilst most purchasers have a basic idea of what they want out of particular neonatal equipment, such as incubators and infant warmers, there are certain features they should pay attention too that can vastly improve patient care.
"The key feature to look out for is how the equipment will assist patient care," Antolovich said.
"This means it should be able to improve and better practices within the hospital or newborn ICU. Of course, they should also look out for cost-savings too since neonatal equipment typically last for 20-25 years. Purchasers must see it as a long term investment."
Although most buyers have to follow a regimented process when undergoing equipment selection, they should also look for innovations and improved technologies have been happening in this space in recent years.
He says there have been vast advancements in newborn ICU equipment. For example, a Victorian Hospital recently purchased an Atom hybrid incubator, which is both an infant warmer and an incubator.
"The hybrid incubator is basically a two-in-one. It's a standard incubator for newborns, but at the touch of the button, it can transform into an infant warmer," Antolovich said.
"This means that there is space-savings and that you can keep the infant in one location when you need to perform certain procedures like resuscitation."
Another innovation in the infant warmer category, according to Antolovich, is where they have blue LED lights embedded to combat jaundice, a common condition in newborns where there is a yellow colour on the skin, caused by excess bilirubin in the blood.
"The warmer basically acts as phototherapy for infants with jaundice," Antolovich said.
"By using LED lights, the treatment is much faster, which means the patient spends less time in bed, thus higher patient turnover. And ultimately equating to higher revenue for the hospital."
Ultimately, Antolovich says that there are lot of factors to bear in mind when it comes choosing the right neonatal equipment to improve infant patient care.
"There are lots of considerations, such as minimising acoustic stress; cold stress - so keeping the infant in a warm environment - light stress, since newborns are photosensitive; and also reducing the handling of the baby since they are startled to touch," Antolovich said.
"Basically, any equipment that reduces touch with infants the better."