“A common scenario could be parents with a premature baby that needs special care, but also with older siblings at home. One of the parents might need to return to work, leaving the other to look after the siblings, do the school run, shopping, all the usual chores as well as visiting their new baby in hospital,” explains Rachel Bailey, Neonatal Unit Sister at Royal Cornwall Hospital.
“The additional burden and expense of travelling to be with your baby sometimes for over an hour each way or having to visit around public transport availability can add an incredible amount of stress to a family trying to cope with the unexpected need for their baby to have this additional care,” she adds.
To improve these difficult circumstances, the Neonatal Unit team have used funds donated to the Neonatal Unit Fund of Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity to purchase a video diary system.
V-create will be used to allow the team on the unit to securely send photos and videos of babies in their care to the parents giving them real time updates and recording milestone moments that might be missed purely through such difficult circumstances,
“It could be the first time a baby opens their eyes, capturing a first cuddle with dad when mum could be poorly, being cared for elsewhere and unable to be with her baby. Sending a photo of the baby settled for a night’s sleep. Being able to record and send these images to parents will help to make them feel at ease and provide a record of their baby’s first days and their neonatal journey,” said Rachel.
This is a new initiative for the unit, first used in December already many families have used the system with it already being well received,
Rachael and Lea Fitzgibbon from Falmouth have been using the new system while baby daughter Merryn is being cared for by the Neonatal team,
“At some point you have to drag yourself away from the unit and although we can phone in at any point to find out how Merryn is there is nothing quite like receiving a photo of her snuggled up and comfortable to put us at ease,” said Rachael.
“At one point we had to leave, Merryn was distressed while having an eye test carried out, and it was so reassuring to receive a message and photo after showing her settled again,” Rachael added.
Funding of £4,000 from the Neonatal Unit Charitable Fund, part of Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity, was used to purchase the system.
“Donations to our fund are so gratefully received and allow us to add these extras that just are not possible through core funding, but make all the difference to our babies and their families,” said Rachel Bailey.
“Thank you to everyone that supports our fund from all our team and of course of behalf of our Neonatal families. Your support helps us to facilitate these enhancements to our unit and enable us to provide an exceptional patient experience,” Rachel added.
If you would like to find out how you can support the Neonatal Unit Fund please contact the RCHT Charity fundraising team. Rcht.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01872 252858.