Bliss to change services to better meet parents' needs

Posted on January 14, 2019

Bliss will be closing the telephone part of the helpline at the end of January 2019 whilst we work with parents to evolve the service into something that better meets their needs. Families will still be able to contact Bliss for support at hello@bliss.org.uk

Why are we changing the helpline?

We recently conducted research which told us that we need to make changes to the way we offer support to the parents of premature and sick babies in order to reach them at their time of need.

Whilst we’re very proud of what we currently offer, we know there are groups of parents we’re just not reaching with our services. As the internet and social media develop even further, parents are looking to engage with support services in a number of different ways, and we need to evolve to meet their changing needs in order to have the biggest positive impact for babies.

During a review of the telephone helpline we also found that calls have reduced by 80% since April 2016.

Why are there fewer calls to the helpline?

Helpline services across the UK have experienced a decline in recent years. Increasingly, people opt for other methods of communication and charities are providing services through a mix of channels, including text-in services, webchat, message boards, Facebook groups and Twitter conversations.

While calls to our helpline have declined, the Bliss and Netmums Forum continues to be a valuable peer support service for parents. Visits to the ‘parent’ section of our website have increased by approximately 10% in the last six months alone, suggesting more parents are finding the information and support they need online. We also have Bliss Champions supporting parents on units across the country and we’re continuing to evolve our information in response to parents’ needs, such as the new podcast we created to support parents’ mental health on the unit.

What might a new service look like? And when will it be available?

Over the coming months, with the help of parents and volunteers, we will be researching the best methods of supporting parents with a baby in neonatal care.

We do not yet know exactly what a new service will look like as we still have some work to do to understand what families need most. But, based on current trends, it is likely to involve a mix of online and offline services. We will look to build on what has been successful at Bliss and try new approaches to reach parents when and where they need us.

We will take our time to make sure we get it right and use our money wisely, but we’re also keen to provide a new service as soon as is feasibly possible.

How can parents access support going forward?

Families looking for information and support can still contact the helpline via hello@bliss.org.uk and they can find a wealth of information and support on our 'Parent' pages and in print from our shop. Many parents can access support via a Bliss Champion on their neonatal unit. Others can find a supportive community of parents on Bliss’ Facebook page and the Bliss and Netmums Forum.

Thank you to our helpline volunteers

Each one of our helpline volunteers have made a lasting, and often life-changing, contribution to the lives of families caring for premature and sick babies. We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has contributed their time, energy, understanding and compassion to supporting babies as part of the Bliss family.

We hope the volunteers who helped to make the helpline such a fantastic service over the years can continue to use their skills and passion to support babies through our other areas of our work.