The Leeds Neonatal Service is based at two hospitals – Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) and St James’s Hospital (Jimmy’s). It is a Level 3 unit with over 56 cots in total, providing intensive, high dependency, surgical and transitional care.
Tour guide Bev Marshall
Hello and welcome to the LGI, one of two units that make up the Leeds Neonatal Service. I’m Bev (right), the Lead Nurse for both sites. I’m going to be showing you around our unit with my colleague Gwynn Bissell, Yorkshire Neonatal Network Educator and Parent Lead (left).
A warm welcome
The first things a parent will see when they step onto the unit are these photographs of former special care babies who received care in this unit and are now healthy happy children. Parents tell us how comforting and encouraging it is to see these photos when walking down the corridor – we think they’re lovely.
The photo shoot for these was organised by Helen Jackson (centre), who runs a Bliss Family Group here in Leeds, and opened by Danielle O’Hara (left).
This is Evie’s room – one of two parent rooms we provide at the LGI for short stay and rooming in. This room is family-funded, which allowed us to decorate these rooms and create a home-from-home family environment.
A parent's view
Sarah Fawcett gave birth to Chloe six weeks early at the end of March. After spending time in special care at Jimmy’s, Chloe went home on the short-term tube feeding programme. She is back in hospital, this time at the LGI, for tests on her vision.
Here Sarah tells us what she thinks of the service at Leeds: “The short-term tube feeding and breastfeeding support was invaluable! They trained my husband Scott to do tube feeding, so it was one less thing for me to worry about, allowing me to get on with expressing and breastfeeding. All the staff here are absolutely wonderful – they’re kind, knowledgeable, professional and helped make our journey a lot less stressful. The care Chloe, Scott and I received at both units has been amazing.”
We work hard on the unit to prevent the spread of infection. We have a Multidisciplinary Infection Prevention Team (medics, surgeons, nurses) who hold twice-monthly meetings where we discuss any infection issues and review our action plan. We carry out admission and weekly screening of all babies on the unit for MRSA. We feed important information back to staff and parents via our infection prevention notice boards and newsletter. We work really hard on this and we’re very proud of what we’ve achieved.
We provide memory boxes for bereaved parents on the unit. These boxes are donated to us by the 4Louis charity, set up in memory of a baby in Newcastle who sadly passed away. The charity prepare and deliver boxes to anywhere in the north of England and amongst other things they contain two teddies (one for baby and one for parents), clay hand/foot print set, a candle for special occasions and a card to write a poem for a special occasion.
Developmental care and breastfeeding support
We have a team of nurses who are dedicated to developmental care and breastfeeding. They are currently in the process of educating staff, updating our current resources as well as improving the care that we currently provide for babies and families. Since we’ve had the team, in over last five months we have seen a significant increase in Kangaroo Care in both mums and dads, mums expressing breast milk, reductions in noise and improved positioning of our babies.
Short-term home tube feeding package
We were the first unit to offer short-term home tube feeding for families. Most units offer this on a long-term basis, but short-term home tube feeding allows some parents to take their babies home at an earlier stage. Babies must meet certain criteria to be considered, but once met, this service is offered to all families.
Families are given a training package which they can progress through at their own pace and when they feel confident in taking their baby home we continue to support them in the community seven days a week. Quite a few units are now taking up short-term home tube feeding after we won a few awards for this innovative piece of work.
We interview families who have left the unit and ask them about their experiences of any part of neonatal care. We find this much more useful than asking them to complete a questionnaire, as they can talk about what was significant to them, not answer questions on what we think is important. It gives families a voice and we feed this information back to staff to educate them and improve the service we provide.