Stage One Accreditation is one of three stages to be completed in order for the unit to become fully UNICEF Baby Friendly ‘Accredited’, a standard already held by the whole of Cornwall, in RCHT’s hospital and community maternity services, health visitor service and in Children’s centres. This first stage has consisted largely of preparation of policies and guidelines, as well as starting the process of training staff in the new standards for neonatal units. The stages act like a continuum of improving standards and family experiences on the unit.
Dellen Prescott, Neonatal Infant feeding Lead was thrilled to find out this news and revealed how being awarded this accreditation will benefit families and babies, as well as the staff.
“Families and babies on the unit are already benefiting from the increased training and knowledge of staff and changes to policies on the unit, as we began our new education programme in May this year. We’ve changed the way we conduct our ward rounds and given parents unrestricted access to their babies, meaning they can stay with their babies 24/7 if they want to,” explained Dellen. “The award really recognises the work the unit is doing to improve the patient and family experiences on the neonatal unit and to enable parents to develop close and loving relationships with their babies.”
Neonatal unit team members have had the opportunity to contribute to the accreditation process and have been working together with parents and families to improve their comfort and the facilities on offer to them. The developmental care and nutrition teams have put in place a number of new initiatives, such as colostrum packs for parents to help with early expressing; the Neonatal Journey booklet, to allow parents to document their baby’s journey through the unit and learn about their baby; as well as ‘Tell us Tags’ which help to improve parent-nurse communication.
Dellen explained what the accreditation will mean to parents and their babies, as well as putting Cornwall on the map for excellence.
“Stage One Accreditation reflects our commitment to improving standards and facilities for parents and that our already excellent care of babies and families is going to get even better! Staff have already benefited from additional training and are eager to help move the unit forward as an example of best practice in the country.”
“By being one of the first Neonatal units in the country to move towards being fully UNICEF Baby Friendly Accredited, we are flying the flag for Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust and for best practice for parents, babies and families. We want to make sure families in Cornwall get the very best level of care and comfort during what is often a very stressful period in their lives.”