New Bliss project - Parental touch

2 FATHE 1 min

Help shape a new project to show how parent-led treatments can improve babies' experience of neonatal care.

What is this project?

Later this year, we will be running an important campaign to promote the benefits of parental touch for premature or sick babies during their time in neonatal care. This will include highlighting the positive effects that certain types of parental touch (e.g. comfort holding and parental stroking) can have on babies’ experience of uncomfortable or painful procedures.

We are working with a research team at the University of Oxford who are studying the positive effects that parental stroking (massaging) can have on babies during certain painful procedures.

It’s an unfortunate reality that babies in neonatal care can frequently experience painful procedures as part of their life-saving care. The team has been conducting a trial with more than 100 families and babies. They want to see if parental touch (stroking) is an effective treatment for reducing the pain babies experience during painful procedures.

Visit for more information on the research - Petal: Parental touch trial

This project will help to promote their findings and support the adoption of parental touch as standard care practice.

What does it mean?

This is a research project that has the potential to change clinical care practices across the UK and globally. If this type of parental touch is shown to reduce pain in babies, it could be used in everyday care to improve the experience of babies and their families while in neonatal care.

We are working on a campaign to promote the types of parental touch that can be used to comfort and reduce pain for babies. This is something we are proud and excited to be a part of, and we are hoping to find 10 parents to join the parent advisory group for this project.

We will soon start developing information and support resources to help parents and healthcare professionals deliver parental touch. We want these resources to be led by parents with neonatal experiences, for all parents in the future who might share your experiences.

How can I get involved?

If you would like to share your experiences with us and help improve care for babies in the future, please complete the anonymous survey below.

If you would like to join the parent involvement group, please include your name and contact information at the end of the survey.

Complete this survey to help improve care for babies and their families.

Parent survey

What's the plan?

This is an important project for us to have full parent involvement from start to finish. We will be asking for around 10 hours of your time from February to June. We are offering a £50 Amazon voucher for each stage of this work as a thank you.

Below is an outline of how we expect this project to run, but this may be subject to changes.

Parent involvement group plan:

Stage 1: February - March

Scoping survey (public) ~10 mins

Scoping meeting ~1.5 hours

  1. Discuss findings of publics coping survey and relevant info from existing research about parental touch.
  2. Decide useful topics and format for resources.
  3. Develop initial plans for information and support resources incl. web-content, booklets, leaflets and posters.

Stage 2: March-April

Drafting written resources e.g., web-content, booklets, leaflets, posters etc. ~ 3 hours total

  1. Online group meeting to discuss useful information and format in more depth + general ideas and suggestions.
  2. Bliss and researchers write first drafts.
  3. Parent group feedback on first drafts and add ideas.
  4. Bliss and researchers write second drafts.
  5. Parent group feedback on second drafts and add ideas.
  6. Bliss creates first design drafts of resources.
  7. Final parents group feedback on design drafts.

Stage 3: May - June

Developing multi-media resources e.g., instructional videos, animations, podcasts etc. ~ 3 hours total

  1. Online group meeting to discuss useful information and format in more depth + general ideas and suggestions.
  2. Bliss and researchers agree formats. Consult and commission create agencies.
  3. Group splits into sub-groups for different formats and tasks e.g., script writing, storyboarding, creative artwork etc. This might involve input via email or collaborative online documents.

Stage 4: June - July

Initial evaluation ~ 2 hours total

  1. Bliss and researchers finalise initial resources.
  2. Resources shared with group for reading and viewing.
  3. Online group meeting to discuss resources and gather initial feedback.
  4. Feedback evaluation and updates made.

July 2023