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As part of World Prematurity Day, the neonatal unit at the Royal Cornwall Hospital have launched new welcome bags for parents

World Prematurity Day on 17 November is one of the most important days in the year to raise awareness of the challenges of preterm birth. This year, the Neonatal Team from the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust have used the occasion to launch a welcome bag for parents and neonatal families as part of their KNest Neonatal Support relaunch.
“We are relaunching in a slightly different way,” explains Laura Harrison, Neonatal Outreach Nurse for the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust. “The original plan was to be able to offer peer support on the ward. Unfortunately, necessary restrictions during the early waves of the Covid pandemic have meant that we’re not able to offer this at the current time. Instead, we’re hoping to be able to promote our peer support community via our new welcome bags.”

“These welcome bags have been carefully thought out by our volunteers, who are veteran neonatal parents,” Laura continues. “The creation of the bags was supported back in 2021 by myself and Fundraising Manager for the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity, Karen Murrish, and we were so happy to be able to give them a proper launch this week to mark this worldwide prematurity awareness event.”

Explaining the reasons why this will make a difference to a parent’s stay on the Neonatal Unit, Jade Hobbs, one of the KNest peer support volunteers, explains: “Our daughter Alana Florence was born at 27 + 0 weeks in Bristol Southmead. Our family then spent her first 3 months in three different NNIC units across the Southwest. Having this welcome pack and support groups in the community after discharge when parents feel comfortable to attend will mean the world to so many. There is nothing better than having someone to support you, listen and truly understand the heartache of having a baby stay on a unit than a fellow prem-parent.”

Lizzie Miller, another KNest peer support volunteer, agrees, adding, “My son Alfie was born at 26 weeks, and we were thrown into an unknown world, which is scary and lonely. It would have made a big difference to my mental health to know that there was a community of other parents that I could reach out to and who had experienced similar things. The welcome bags would have made me feel less lost and alone.”

The new welcome bags will also be given out to all neonatal admissions, both term and preterm, who require neonatal care.

Contents of the new KNest peer support volunteers’ welcome bag

Added on 21 November 2022, in News - Maternity & Neonatal Services / Patient Experience

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