Parents are informed, guided and supported, so that they understand their baby’s care processes and become confident in caring for them. Parents should have access to information about clinical conditions, tests and treatment, infant development, as well as practical issues such as breastfeeding, financial support, transferring between units, local facilities and support services. Information needs to be available in different formats, different media and different languages (according to local population).
This principle considers how a unit ensures that parents receive inclusive information, both written and verbal, throughout their baby's stay on the unit. Information should be provided about all aspects of their baby's care, to empower parents to make informed decisions, and should also include details about local services and support that are available to them. The principle also focuses on the facilities that are made available to parents and siblings to support their stay on the unit (e.g. kitchen facilities, overnight accommodation etc.)
Here are some examples of good practice:
Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Norwich
Norfolk and Norwich's welcome pack for families provides parents with information about the hospital, unit facilities and additional support available on the unit and from local charities, hospices and the chaplaincy team. It also offers a place for parents to write down their thoughts and memories of the experience, and for staff to note down when parent-craft training has been undertaken, ensuring that parents are given the tools they need to take care of their baby.
South West Midlands Maternity and Newborn Network
The South West Midlands Maternity and Newborn Network created an app, designed in coordination with parents and the Bliss Family-Centred Care Nurse, to provide information on all of the network's hospitals, with the aim of supporting parents when they first arrive and if they are transferred. It includes directions to the hospital, where the neonatal unit is situated and visiting policies, as well as links for parent support information and feedback pages for all the hospitals.
You can find out more information about this by visiting the website www.swmmnn.org.uk
Frimley Park Hospital, Surrey
Frimley Park’s parent information booklet provides a helpful overview of neonatal care and the support parents can expect while they are on the unit. It includes information about the neonatal and the community teams to help parents get acquainted with the professionals involved in their baby’s care. The booklet highlights how parents can be involved with day to day cares such as feeding, nappy changes, bathing. Information on developmental care is also provided, promoting positive touch and skin-to-skin, and there is a section on support parents can access whilst they are on the unit and the contact information of useful organisations, as well as a map of the unit with signage.
Frimley Park have also created several small information prompt cards for parents as an added reminder of some of the useful resources, facilities and information parents can access.
You can view the information prompt cards here.
Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow
The neonatal unit at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow provide parent education and craft sessions to equip parents with the knowledge, skills and confidence to be actively involved in their baby’s daily cares and decision making processes. ‘CPR’, ‘Bathing’, ‘Sterilising and making up feeds’ and ‘Transitioning to breastfeeding’ are just some of the classes offered to support parents to feel prepared and confident in providing daily cares. The ‘Parents participate in ward rounds’ and ‘What can parents be involved in?’ sessions empower parents to assume a lead role in discussions around their baby’s care plan. There are also sessions to promote positive touch, developmental care and feeding along with classes that recognise the emotional well-being of the family, such as ‘Coping with stresses. The sessions are well advertised on a monthly timetable giving parents the opportunity to plan their time around the sessions.
Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth
Queen Alexandra Hospital have created a parent checklist, which empowers parents to find out what cares they can be involved with and what information they should be finding out.
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London
Imperial Hospital NHS Trust have developed a practical educational app for parents to support the ethos of family integrated care, helping them to understand what’s happening to their baby and increase their engagement and confidence in care-giving. The app gives parents the opportunity to learn more about expressing, skin-to-skin, feeding progress and growth. Parents are also able to record events, pictures and memories of their neonatal journey.
You can find out more about the app here.