Tunbridge Wells Hospital neonatal unit achieves Platinum Bliss Baby Charter accreditation

Posted on April 21, 2023

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We are delighted to announce that Tunbridge Wells Hospital neonatal unit has successfully completed its re-accreditation and has demonstrated that they have sufficient processes and facilities in place to deliver high-quality family-centred care.

The assessment was carried out at Tunbridge Wells unit on 21 February 2023, and was carried out by Bliss Baby Charter Programme Officer, Anna Moore, and Volunteer Assessors, Lynne Wainwright and Tom Padden. The Baby Charter lead for the unit was Julia Moat.

The assessment showed that staff at Tunbridge Wells neonatal unit are dedicated to providing the best possible service in line with the principles of family-centred care outlined in the Bliss Baby Charter. Parents are actively encouraged to be part of their baby’s care and supported to be so.

Giulia Bonacalza, Bliss Baby Charter Program Lead, said: "Achieving the Platinum award on our recent reaudit of the Bliss Baby Charter Principles reflects our unit philosophy of believing that every baby and their family is special and deserves individualised family-centred care. The unit is very proud to have achieved this accolade.

"Thanks must go to the neonatal team for the hard work they continue to put in on a daily basis, ensuring that the care delivered is of a high standard with the parents at the centre, together with their baby."

Bliss is impressed by many aspects of the unit’s care, but these elements stood out in particular:

  • Availability of a dedicated Family Support and Bereavement Lead Nurse and a Safeguarding Lead.
  • The availability of an expert in Development Care with dedicated non-clinical hours enabling her to provide regular cot-side training to staff. The desire to develop a Developmental Care team with more members of staff undertaking FINE training with a clear action plan for future Developmental Care initiatives such as ‘Birthday cuddles’ and undertaking more procedures on babies during skin-to-skin.
  • Efforts to maximise developmental care through ‘all time is quiet time’ policy.
  • Ensuring that a baby’s cares are centred around parent availability and the baby’s readiness for cares, as opposed to clustering cares.
  • The availability of support services for bereaved families, including memory boxes, butterflies on cots denoting a bereavement and a dedicated neonatal cold cot.
  • The availability of accommodation for parents within the unit and the efforts of staff to ensure that when the rooms are empty, they are offered to parents who may need to rest during the day.
  • Follow-ups with all parents post-discharge.
  • The provision of free parking and food for parents in the parent kitchen.
  • Excellent provision of staff wellbeing services including wellbeing Wednesdays, access to occupational health, a staff support line and activities such as acupuncture and yoga classes. Support from senior medical and nursing staff in the form of staff debriefs following bereavement.

Tara Hayward, Family Support Sister and Bereavement Lead at the unit, said: "My non-clinical role as family support sister and bereavement lead has made a difference to maternal mental health and well-being on the unit. I ensure families are supported throughout their neonatal journey whilst also enabling me to signpost parents to relevant agencies where ongoing care is needed."

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Feedback from parents on the day was overwhelmingly positive regarding both the care of their baby and the support families have received from staff practically and emotionally.

One parent, Louisa Menzel, said: "Even though having a premature baby is scary, the team at Tunbridge Wells supported us through every step of this challenging time. The staff became our second family and we could rest easy knowing little Heide was safe and loved in their care- even having “twinkle, twinkle, little star” being sung to her when she woke up in the night!

"We learned so much from the angels in uniform and when the time came for Heide to join us at home, we were confident in our ability to take care of her."