What is the Bliss FICare pilot?

Dad sat in hospital chair holding his baby in his arms looking down and smiling

Read more detail about what the pilot is and why Bliss is undertaking this work.

Why are we developing a FICare framework?

Family Integrated Care (FICare) has fantastic benefits for babies’ development and outcomes on a neonatal unit. FICare reduces separation anxiety for families and increases their bond with their baby.

Currently, there is no national FICare evaluation framework for units to be assessed against, although some networks have established their own frameworks. Bliss is hoping to fill in the gaps and ensure nationwide coverage.

Bliss is working with a variety of stakeholders to explore the development of a FICare accreditation framework. This framework will work alongside the family-centred care model to help units deliver FICare to parents and babies, and to reduce families’ experience of health inequality in neonatal care.

What is the FICare Pilot?

Bliss is working together with a range of healthcare professionals and parents to explore the development of an accreditation framework for the delivery of family-integrated care (FICare) in neonatal units in the UK.

In order to co-produce this framework, we are working closely with Luton and Dunstable neonatal unit, to gradually trial the implementation of FICare on their unit.

This will help us to understand how FiCare can be delivered effectively in practice, testing approaches and learning from those approaches, so we can understand how units can be assessed on their delivery of FICare.

One of the core aims of this framework will be to reduce health inequalities in neonatal care and to ensure that all families are able to benefit from this care model. To do this, we are working with two groups:

  • Unit Steering Group (USG): Luton and Dunstable Hospital have joined the pilot as a trial unit and have assembled a USG involving staff and parents on the unit. The USG are trialling several aspects of FICare on their unit to test how the care model can be delivered and evaluated in the UK.
  • Parent Advisory Group (PAG): we are holding regular focus groups with our diverse range of parents on our PAG, which is providing key insight into the needs of families on neonatal units and the best way FICare can be implemented to address these needs.

How does FICare fit in with the Bliss Baby Charter?

The FICare pilot and subsequent framework are being designed so that they work in conjunction with the Bliss Baby Charter.

The goal of the project is to provide a framework that addresses the distinction and interrelationships between family-centred care and FICare, allowing units to improve their practice by working towards accreditation in either model.

As a result, the framework will be a useful tool for units to guide them on their delivery of FICare and to eventually be assessed on this delivery.

It will not be prescriptive on what units must provide in order to achieve FICare status, but instead will necessitate certain principles that are essential for the proper delivery of FICare on a unit.

We do not know yet exactly what the FICare framework will look like. As the pilot goes on, we will have more information to share about how the framework will look and how it will interact with the Baby Charter.

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