Archive: Aug 2020

Meet the New AHP Team – Alice, Occupational Therapist

Occupational Therapy takes a ‘whole-person approach’ to both mental and physical health and wellbeing and enables individuals to achieve their full potential’ (Royal College of Occupational Therapists, 2019).

Alice Gair OT (AHP Team 2020)

My name is Alice Gair. I am thrilled to have recently joined the Allied Health Professional (AHP) Team on the Unit following maternity leave. My background is in community children’s OT, with a speciality in sensory processing and integration, I am also project lead for our community service development The Sensational Thinking Project © and one of NHS England’s Clinical Entrepreneurs. I have extensive hands on experience working with children from birth to 19 years of age with a number of diagnosis and medical backgrounds, including those that were born prematurely.

My experience in community has afforded me the opportunity to recognise first-hand the impact of early follow up and intervention on long term development, so I am very excited to bring this perspective to the unit. I am looking forward to using my specialism in sensory integration to enhance the healing environment for both you and your baby, as well as working on bridging the gap to support you on the often tricky transition from the unit to home through follow up care, and promoting the parent/carer occupation in caring for your baby.

Recognising the reciprocal nature of physical and mental health and how we need to nurture this to promote the best outcomes for your baby and the family unit is fundamental to our professional values and standards of practice.

What does an Occupational Therapist do on the Unit?

In the specialist area of Neonatal Care the Occupational Therapist’s (OT) role is to support the development of your baby and your emotional wellbeing as a family unit. We aim to achieve this through neuro-behavioural, neurodevelopmental and sensory assessment, facilitating family centred developmentally supportive care, empowering you in your occupations and engagement on the unit and in the transition home to lessen the incidence of long-term developmental concerns (British Association of Perinatal Medicine, 2010).  Basically, we are taking a preventative role in your baby’s care and want to support you in positive caring activities with your baby so that as a family you can live independent and fulfilling lives. You can spot us wearing the green trousers!

COVID-19 Family Survey – can you help?

Having a baby on a Neonatal Unit can be very difficult for families at any time. Through conversations with parents and staff on Ward 35, we know that COVID-19 has presented additional, unique challenges for families, on top of the usual issues and stress.

We are keen to gain a deeper insight into the impact that COVID-19 is having on families who are currently on the Neonatal Unit, or who have recently spent time on RVI Ward 35. This will help us to shape the support we can offer to families in these trying times.

This survey is open to anyone who has spent time on the RVI Neonatal Unit within the last 2 years, so we would be very grateful if you could let us know your thoughts:

New Music, Movement and Sensory online classes!

Here at Tiny Lives, we know how hard it is for parents at the moment, especially those who have just been discharged home from Ward 35 and are unable to attend any of the usual baby groups.

To help tackle this issue, Tiny Lives has funded The Baby Hub Gateshead to deliver a term of their award winning M+Ms (Music, Movement and Sensory) classes throughout August, exclusively for Ward 35 babies! Classes are suitable for babies from 6 weeks to 12 months, and will be online weekly  from 10th August, so you can join in from the comfort of your own home at a time suitable for you and your baby.

Classes feature a mix of singing, music, action songs and themed sensory fun, adapted for online participation. Each week there will be a theme such as Farm, Garden and Weather. All you’ll need is to have is either a smart phone, tablet, PC, laptop or smart TV to watch the video link.

Every Monday, a new video will be uploaded for the week to the Baby Hub’s private Tiny Lives M+Ms Facebook group. This means you can watch your class whenever suits you and will be able to pause or return to it at any time during the 4 week term.

Places are limited so if you would like to join please email

Parent Experiences wanted for Regional Webinar

The webinar is aimed at medical professionals and will be taking place in September (exact date TBC). The webinar will focus on the scenario of a baby born in the region who has an undiagnosed congenital heart defect and will discuss the whole process of caring for that baby.

The organisers of the webinar are keen to ensure that the parent voice is heard in this session, and so are looking for a short story from a parent regarding their whole experience; from delivery of the baby to eventual treatment at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital. The organisers are looking for a parent with a baby who:

  •  Was born with an undiagnosed congenital heart defect.
  • Was born in the North East or North Cumbria
  • Was eventually treated (or is undergoing ongoing treatment) at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

The organisers understand that this is an sensitive and emotional topic, so will be there to support you in telling your story.

To volunteer, or for more information, please email

Thank you!

Take part in the Virtual GNR 2020!

The Great North Run as we know it may have been cancelled, but you can still take part in a unique GNR experience in 2020 – and raise funds for Tiny Lives!

The Great Run company have developed a ‘Virtual Great North Run’, meaning that more people than ever can take part. It may not be exactly the real thing, but you can still complete an amazing personal challenge, enjoy getting fit and raise vital funds to support vulnerable premature and sick babies and their families.

“Great North Run Reimagined is a virtual running campaign, created to provide you with a Great North Run experience to remember. We’re thinking outside the box to recreate an experience as close as possible to the real event.” – The Great Run Company

To get involved you need to download the app for the Run and sign up. You’ll also be prompted to set up a JustGiving page to enable you to fundraise from your run.

Sign up here:

Happy Running!

GNR Virtual 1