Family centered care
My name is Claire Campbell I am a sister on the neonatal unit and have worked there for over 20 years. I specialise in family centred care and providing support to our parents past and present. Much of the family centred care we offer would be impossible without support from Tiny Lives. For example, Tiny Lives have been instrumental in helping me set up a parents support ” buddy group” for families to share experiences and support one another and also meets the cost of many of the initatives that support parents on the unit. Tiny Lives has also funded study days and education programmes to support staff in providing the best care possible.
Tiny Lives funds a number of initiatives aimed at supporting families while their baby is in special care. In 2011, the unit was chosen by premature baby charity Bliss to pilot a review of its level of family centred care against the Bliss Baby Charter standards. Tiny Lives provided funding for the lead nurse to attend planning meetings and seminars which enabled her to undertake the audit and initiate a number of positive changes on the ward. The findings of this pilot were presented at a national conference which has led to huge interest from other neonatal units across the country.
Parents resources and mementos
The charity has met the costs of innovative schemes which aim to help parents to play an active role in the care of their baby, and support them at a stressful time in their lives. This has included:
- Kangaroo care stickers – these stickers promote the beneficial practice of ‘kangaroo care’ by creating a visual record in a baby’s record every time it takes place. Two national charities are now working with staff from the RVI to make this resource available free of charge to all units across the country! Click here for more information on the Kangaroo Care Guide.
- Whiteboards – Tiny Lives has paid for whiteboards to be installed next to each cot which parents and staff can use to aid communication.
- Buddy group – Tiny Lives has supported the development of a Bliss affiliated buddy group on the unit by funding the cost of printing contact cards and helping to spread the word amongst families. The buddy group helps parents of babies on the unit to meet and talk with others who have had similar experiences.
“It’s not until you look back on those very early images that you realise how important that little plastic camera wrapped in cardboard really was. And how thankful you are that Tiny Lives thought of it.”
Tiny Lives provides every family with items such as a memory box, camera, a personal journal to write in, progress stickers and a unique quilt. At Christmas time, the charity pays for small gifts to be given to each baby on the unit.
“I religiously wrote in the journal every day during James’ time in hospital. It became a great comfort to me and I intend to continue writing in it once a year until James is older, when I will pass it on to him.”
Progress sticker charts are used to create an individual record of baby’s experiences such as first cuddles, milestones, routines and moods.
“The nurses created a diary of Lexi’s experience on SCBU in the form of a sticker chart. I still look at it now, several years later, and cherish it as a snapshot of an intense but very special time.”
Lesley Walker and the Cards on the ward.
Staff nurse Lesley Walker, who works on ward 35 has been in post for 25 years and enjoys making cards by hand in her own time, for the babies and their families for many different occasions. These include Mothers Day, Easter and Christmas as well as on multi-cultural occasions. There are also cards provided for Mums, Dads and siblings birthdays and special ‘with love’ cards for mum and dad if they need cheering up. We usually put inside a hand or footprint in the card using sensitised labels and wipes, which makes it special for the parents and something which can be treasured forever. Tiny Lives has always funded the materials for making the cards and parents value and treasure them hugely.