Regionalization of perinatal care was introduced in Canada in the 1960s to improve the outcome of infants by transferring them to centres where the most appropriate care can be provided. Due to a lack of adequate facilities in Windsor, acutely ill term infants and pre-term infants born before 26 weeks of gestation in the Windsor-Essex area are transferred to London, Ontario or Detroit, USA for high-level neonatal intensive care (ex utero transfer). Since site of delivery has beneficial effect on outcomes, mothers at risk for preterm labor are sometimes transferred to a regional center (in utero transfer). A preterm infant’s neonatal intensive care unit stay at the regional center can last anywhere from weeks to months.
This project aims to elucidate the impact of this regional transfer on the infants and their families. This includes the psychological and emotional impacts, the financial burden, the influence on the infant’s outcome and the level and accessibility of supports the family received throughout the process. Due to an overall lack of information about the impact of this practice on families in Canada, we hope to increase awareness and capture the voices of families who are directly impacted. Data will be collected via a survey that will be delivered in a hybrid format through phone and email correspondence. This data will be analyzed based on responses to a series of questions on a Likert scale and free text boxes. This project has the ultimate goal of informing policy makers of the need for the funding and facilities to support pre-term babies less than 26 weeks old and their families in the Windsor-Essex region.