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WHH NICU takes further steps to Baby Bliss Charter

Parent accomodation at the William Harvey Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) has been improved to ensure that parents are closer to their babies.

The new parent flats which are located outside the unit have been newly refurbished, and represent a further step towards the unit’s ‘Baby Bliss Charter’ accreditation, signifying a commitment to parents.

Initiated by the Bliss charity for premature and sick babies, accreditation confirms that a neonatal encapsulates the care, respect and support that the most vulnerable babies should receive.

The improvements include enhanced facilities with all the essentials to cook a warm meal, a comfortable lounge area and bedding space for both parents.

Easy access to showers and toilets has also been added, and these are available to extended family, which are able to visit during the day. Plans are also in place to use community support to renovate the garden space.

Bliss’ ‘Families kept apart: barriers to parents’ involvement in their baby’s hospital care’ highlights that for premature and sick babies to have the best possible chance of good long- term health outcomes, it is vital that parents are able to be with their baby for long, uninterrupted periods of time and are supported to take the lead in their care.

William Harvey Hospital recognises this, and the staff are working closely with wider hospital teams, parents, volunteers and the local community to create new parent accommodation for families.

The William Harvey neonatal unit began their Bliss Baby Charter journey in 2015. They were inspired to get involved with the charter because they recognise the huge benefit that family-centred care has on babies and families, particularly with regards to keeping families together through tailored facilities.

Some of the initiatives include providing parents with headphones during ward rounds so that they can stay with their baby, using cot side screens to promote privacy on the unit, encouraging parents to stay by the cot side for longer and providing financial support to parents, including discounted parking, and offering meal vouchers.

As well as maintaining a general quiet and peaceful environment at all times, the unit also operates quiet time between 2pm and 4pm each day, with dimmed lights and reduced noise to promote a calm atmosphere, supporting the babies’ development.