THE women's and children's special care neonatal nursery at Sale Hospital now has a special chair that will help mothers remain at their babies' bedsides for long periods of time.
The electric recliner was donated by the Newborn Intensive Care Foundation, with the support of donations from local businesses and the community.
Central Gippsland Health chief executive Frank Evans said the chair fitted in with the recently-refurbished nursery, which previously did not have the space for such furniture to enable mothers to comfortably remain and even sleep next to their babies.
"The electric recliner has adjustable positions that enable mothers to find a comfortable position in which to feed their babies and supports nursing staff to conduct 'kangaroo care'," Dr Evans said.
"Kangaroo care is where babies are nursed in an upright position.
"It helps stabilise the baby's heart rate, improves their rate of breathing and maintains their oxygen saturation levels.
"It is also shown to help their sleep, reduces crying and leads to more rapid weight gain."
Historically, the Newborn Intensive Care Foundation has funded high-tech medical equipment, nurse education and research to enable sick and premature newborn babies to go home from hospital sooner and healthier.
Foundation founder Peter Cursley, and his partner Di recently retired to Sale, and their plan is to help local hospitals.
"Sometimes it's what seems like the little things that actually mean the most to regional hospitals," Mr Cursley said.
The Newborn Intensive Care Foundation was established in 1995 in Canberra as a result of the short life of Mr Cursley's, and his late wife's daughter, Hanna Cursley, born November 18, 1993.
Heartbreakingly, Hanna died just two days later.
"Although the outcome was completely unexpected, and our lives shattered, we wanted to show our appreciation for the clinical staff," Mr Cursley said.
"To do this and to make a meaningful impact on the care of sick newborns, we started the foundation."
Canberra Hospital director of paediatrics, Dr Graham Reynolds, said the foundation had "quietly and unobtrusively raised millions of dollars that has allowed the neonatal intensive care service at this hospital to lead the nation in many areas of clinical care and family support".
The Cursleys look forward to making a similar impact locally, and hope to begin raising money for another nursery recliner for CGH.
"The hospital is already seeing the benefits the adjustable recliner is bringing to vulnerable newborns and their parents, so let's start fundraising to keep giving local families dealing with an already challenging situation, the best start to bonding and caring for their special care nursery newborns," Mr Cursley said.
"All donations over $2 are tax deductible and money raised in this region will stay in this region."
People interested in donating money to help parents of special care newborns can phone Peter Cursley on 0414 446 662, or visit the Gippsland page on the foundation's website.