Principle 7

A couple with their baby smiling at camera about to go home



Discharge planning is facilitated and coordinated from initial admission to discharge date, to ensure both the baby and their family receive the appropriate care and access to resources.

This principle considers the multi-disciplinary team that are involved in supporting a smooth discharge for families. It focuses on the emotional support that is available to families and the local support that they will receive as they re-enter the community.

If family-centred care is embedded from admission, then this will greatly facilitate the discharge process as parents have developed the skills and confidence to care for their baby(ies) independently.

Here are some examples of good practice:

Tube feeding at home (standard 7.3a)

East of England Neonatal Network

The East of England Neonatal Network have created guidelines for parents to support them with tube feeding their baby at home. This includes a parent leaflet, risk assessment and parent competencies for passing a nasogastric tube and nasogastric tube feeding.

These materials are aimed at parents and carers of babies who have the opportunity to take their baby home with a nasogastric tube in place whilst establishing oral feeds with the support of the outreach neonatal nurse.

For more information about this project please contact Claire O’Mara, Lead Nurse/Innovation Lead for East of England, at

Information Day for parents and families

South West Neonatal Network

The Network hosted days in Bristol and Plymouth for parents and carers of a NICU baby aged three and under. The days were free and represented an opportunity for families to come together post discharge and share experiences all the while hearing from healthcare professional speakers about a range of topics.

These topics included child development, the importance of play, feeding and weaning, keeping parents healthy and happy, preparing for pre-school and school, and pregnancy after a premature birth.

For more information about these events, please contact the network on

Family and Babies Project (FaB)

Arrowe Park Hospital, Wirral and Cheshire and Merseyside Neonatal Network

The Family and Baby project was set up in 2010 in collaboration with the neonatal unit at Arrowe Park Hospital and the local Children’s Centre Services in Wirral to address the needs of the families on the neonatal unit. The project takes a collaborative approach to supporting families when they first arrive on the unit and through their journey into the community.

The service provides immediate support for all families when their baby is first admitted onto the unit. This project has been set up by Jacqui Morgan (Unit Manager) and Tracey Rimmer (Children’s Centre Manager). It links the support that is already provided from the Children’s Centre and reaches families earlier in the process, ensuring a low-cost solution to help families through this difficult time.

A copy of the report can be found in Infant Journal.