Every year, Heartlands and Good Hope Hospital help to bring over 11,000 babies into the world. On average, around 1,000 of those babies will be born too poorly or too soon and will be admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Special Care Baby Units at the hospitals.
The Neonatal Unit provide the most advanced care to the hospital's tiniest and most vulnerable patients. With the amazing support of generous fundraisers and donors to the hospital charity, we raised £150,000 to purchase seven state of the art, life saving incubators.
Now, we need your help again! We are fundraising to provide a Family Integrated Care Service at Heartlands and Good Hope Hospital that will be vital in helping parents and siblings to be a part of every step of the Neonatal journey.
With your support, we are funding a special Family Integrated Care Nurse who will be responsible for encouraging parents to cuddle, feed, change and even administer some of the more basic medications to their baby. This bonding time is crucial for a premature baby as it has been proven that poorly babies react positively to hearing their mother's voice and feeling her touch which helps to speed up their recovery.
The Family Integrated Care Scheme will not only improve a family's engagement with their baby, it will also include parents in the medical side of their baby's care with Baby Life Support training, feeding and preparing parents to leave take their baby home whilst they are still receiving oxygen support.
The scheme will also ensure that each baby receives their 'Beads of Courage', a scheme funded by the hospital charity, that provides the families of babies on the Neonatal Unit with a special bead for each milestone that they pass whilst on the unit.
The first bead that the babies receive will be a 'happy birthday' bead, marking the day that they are born, a parent bead in the form of a heart, and their initials.
As they spend more time on the unit, babies will be given beads such as sunflowers for when they receive phototherapy (light therapy), one to mark 100 days on the unit, coming off oxygen for the first time, or having their first feed.
Pictured: baby Neveah with her first beads
Sian Averill, Fundraising Manager at Heartlands Hospital, said: "The hospital charity is proud to support the Family Integrated Care Scheme at Heartlands and Good Hope Hospitals that will provide vital support for families of babies receiving treatment on the Neonatal Unit.
The scheme is aimed at getting parents and siblings more involved in their baby's care from cuddling and reading to feeding and administering basic medications. This will not only help families to create a bond with their baby whilst in the hospital environment, but it will also prepare them for leaving the unit and taking their baby home."