Corniche Hospital: Putting families first through patient-centered care

Corniche Hospital: Putting families first through patient-centered care

Established in 1978, Corniche Hospital has become the largest maternity hospital in Abu Dhabi, with outstanding clinical leaders and staff, incorporating world-class facilities to ensure the delivery of patient centered care. Winning multiple awards, the family-focused hospital has cemented its position within the region, incorporating a number of specialty clinics, in addition to housing the largest Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in the country.

Corniche Hospital serves patients from many countries and backgrounds, and employees from 60 different nationalities, making it truly unique. To enhance communication, teamwork and cultural sensitivity, staff regularly meet to celebrate and share different cultures or practices, enabling the hospital to effectively work as one.

Linda Clark, Chief Executive Officer and Deputy CEO Dr. Fayeza Nasir jointly manage the hospital, to include oversight of day-to-day operations, budgeting and supervision of all activities, balancing the need to reflect a key focus on family-centered care, always with working in line with the vision and values of the SEHA Health System. Clinically, Corniche Hospital also is responsible for coordinating the Obstetrics and Gynaecology service line, coordinating services across the SEHA system. In order to provide a seamless service, the 183-bed hospital collaborates with five other SEHA hospitals, a network of government hospitals in the emirate of Abu Dhabi which deliver babies, holding regular meetings with them to coordinate a smooth provision of transition of services. A public-private collaboration was established two years ago, where Corniche meets with CEOs, CMOs and the CNOs from other large women’s centres to look for ways to improve care within a number of areas, whilst coordinating common standards and education across both sectors, previously not in place within the region.


Patient experience

All staff are effectively trained in improving the patient’s experience, with a key of value of “Ihsan” demonstrating kindness and caring.  One example of this is the integration of Nurse midwives or the Shared Care model at Corniche has also set the hospital apart from other maternity hospitals. Clark explains: “In this part of the world, midwives don’t traditionally deliver babies, but they do at Corniche,” putting women at ease throughout their labour and delivery. The leadership’s dedication to the hospital has enabled a number of transformations, such as the ability for new fathers to stay with their wives post-delivery, something previously unseen in Abu Dhabi, which has created a positive outcome not only for mother and baby, but also the father and family unit. Dr Al Nasir explains: “In the beginning people were hesitant to start this practice, but actually the patients and families love it, and we have many dads staying with their wives at the hospital post-delivery.” Other family members such as grandmothers, sisters and aunties are also welcomed.

Patients which are deemed ‘high-risk’ are sent to Corniche as a result of its exceptional staff and services, at which both Clark and Dr Nasir agree that the hospital is viewed as a “safety net” to their sister hospital facilities, impacting on the space available at the hospital. Dr Nasir explains: “What we do is collaborate with other hospitals in the network and sometimes the private sector in order to accommodate these increased numbers.” With a licensed capacity of 64 neonatal cots, the hospital averages approximately 75 NICU babies on any given day, highlighting a significant ongoing challenge the hospital faces. Clark concludes that there has also been an increased need for neonatal and intensive care in the region recently, partly due to the unprecedented increase in IVF, and the hospital is working with other hospitals to find ways in which to overcome this challenge.



Nonetheless, Corniche has renovated its facilities to meet the patient’s expectations, and compete with the private sector, which includes the implementation of private rooms for women postpartum. The hospital will be completing a large number of renovation works within the next 12 months, updating the labour and delivery ward and operating rooms (OR’s) to ensure they are fit for purpose and can work effectively in spite of increased demands. Clark explains: “For the last 10-15 years’, other hospitals have expanded their obstetrics service. Over the years, we opened the first neonatal unit, added advanced technologies and other services to support maternity and new-born care, but there is still much to be done”. However, these renovation works are to be completed in stages in order to reduce disruption to clinical service delivery. “As new technologies and services evolve, we’ve been able to update and modernise our facility,” concludes Clark.

Both Clark and Dr Nasir are enthusiastic on modernising the hospital and introducing new technologies to support ongoing clinical demand. The initiation of the Corniche Fertility Centre has enabled Corniche to provide in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and reproductive medicine. Clark explains: “Corniche was originally built at a time when maternity care was delivered very differently. There were very few C-sections and there was not in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) for example...” As a result of these innovations, an increased number of women have since visited Corniche to tap into these high-quality services.

By modernising services and placing an emphasis on clinical education and development, the hospital has also been successful in delivering a number of complex surgeries, such as laser therapy for twin-to-twin transfusion and has gained the ability to perform procedures on babies in utero, highlighting its commitment to medical innovation, all whilst embedding high patient quality and safety standards. To align with the hospital’s patient centric approach, Corniche has been certified for over 10 years as ‘Baby Friendly’ by the World Health Organisation, with a focus on the importance of breast feeding, supporting mother and baby for better health. However, both Clark and Dr Al Nasir are aware that not every pregnancy is successful, there can be complications.  In the past, there has been little support available for women who miscarry or lose their baby. To this end, Corniche has created a bereavement clinic, “Al Amal Clinic”, run by an obstetrician and midwife in order to provide effective, ongoing support for women who need it.

Not only is Corniche Hospital committed to education and development for its medical staff, but also to providing patient centered services through educating expectant parents through its Parent Education Centre. The facility successfully allows for the communication with couples and provides valued information and support, focusing on both mother and father’s needs. The hospital also provides support to young women who are getting married, and are preparing for pregnancy – Pre-conception Clinic.

Further, Corniche Hospital’s recent move from the Patient Safety Network to Datix highlights its ongoing commitment to deliver the best service and patient centered initiatives whilst embedding the safest, highest quality of care and support of staff. Clark explains: “We focus on the culture of safety - our process is to encourage staff to report any near miss or potential harm, so we can try to evaluate, revise and resolve the situation before any other harm comes to a patient or staff member.” In addition to being reaccredited for the fourth time by Joint Commission International (JCI) and acquiring a number of numerous accreditations encompassing international standards. The hospital benchmarks internationally with the Vermont Oxford database for Neonatology, comparing themselves with other neonatal intensive care units around the world and striving to always advance our practice and improve our outcomes.

To ensure Corniche Hospital continually provides exceptional care, world-class training and education is provided, at which Corniche has become the first hospital outside the UK to be accredited as a training site for the ATSM programs by the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (RCOG). Clark explains: “Training is a critical part of Corniche and it starts with residency - we have Obstetrics and Gynaecology residents and neonatal fellows.”

Benchmarking against international standards, such as American College of Graduate Medical Education and the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has cemented the hospital’s outstanding reputation within Abu Dhabi.  It is compulsory for all medical staff to undertake multi-disciplinary advanced emergency management training such as PROMPT (Obstetrics) and NRP (Neonatal Resuscitation) Corniche has a purpose-built Simulation Center, which has provided a unique opportunity for the hospital to train professionals in a number of modern and advanced ways. The hospital’s technologies have also enabled staff to work with computerised patients which simulate different real-life experiences as one.

Through its continued success and commitment in a number of areas, Corniche faces challenges as other hospitals, such as the ability to recruit talented staff in a number of specialities. However, Clark adds: “Fortunately, because of our reputation we’ve been able to recruit a very strong team of Consultants and medical staff”, making the hospital a very attractive place to work.  The hospital strives to provide unique services to the community, but also caters to patients’ increased needs and expectations. Once renovation works are fully complete, in addition placing an increased focus on patient experience, clinical quality and education, Corniche Hospital will become stronger than ever in Abu Dhabi.

Dr Fayeza Nasir