Meet our Social Worker
Hi, my name is Fiona and I am the Tiny Lives Social Worker for the Neonatal Unit at the RVI in Newcastle. Sometimes called SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit). The unit is also supported by Newcastle City Council Social Worker Laura.
My job is incredibly varied and no two days are the same. One of my goals is to introduce myself to all parents thus allowing parents to opt in or out or the service at any point on their families’ journey through the Neonatal Unit.
The Neonatal Unit can be a very scary place and whilst all the staff are very conscious of this, and – in my opinion – fantastic at explaining and normalizing the experience, it can remain an extremely stressful and terrifying experience. An important aspect of my role is to support families though the range of emotions and pressures.
I also offer families support with practical issues. I can access financial support and inform on benefit entitlement such as SMP1, Maternity Allowance, Universal Credit and Disability Living Allowance. If more complex benefit issues are present I can refer to Newcastle City Council’s Welfare Rights Service for support. Tiny Lives funding can be accessed to support with travelling costs. I can also help with issues including employment problems and housing.
On the high and low dependency bays of the ward, I attend a weekly ward meeting with a Community Representatives and the Sister-in-charge/Charge Nurse. This highlights families who may need ward support and/or community support. Support can come from various services: Community Nursing, Family Support Team (FST), and Barnardo’s. I can help to co-ordinate these services.
Having a child on SCBU is difficult enough without the rest of life throwing up problems so I see my role as supporting families whatever the issues may be. It is a truly great job working into the Neonatal Unit, and Tiny Lives are a fantastic charity working alongside a highly skilled and inspiring ward team.