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
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
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
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.