The Transcutaneous Bilirubinometers (TCBs) are used to carry out a simple check on new-borns who are suspected of having jaundice, caused by too much ‘bilirubin’ in the blood. Following the check, the reading is plotted onto a graph which informs the midwife whether the baby requires a visit to hospital for further investigation and possible phototherapy or if the baby can stay at home with the parents being given routine advice and a planned follow up visit.
“The TCB Monitors are a great enhancement to the service we can provide. Being able to give parents that immediate result often avoids an unnecessary trip to hospital which previously could have meant up to a 3 hour round trip,” explained Sam Gale, Community Midwife Team Leader – Chi Kernow Midwives.
“Having the monitors located in the community is beneficial not just to our families but also to our Midwifery and Neonatal teams at the hospital by reducing the number of patients that are being referred in to them unnecessarily,”
Most newborn babies can get a degree of jaundice and for most babies it is harmless. The condition is caused by too much ‘bilirubin’ in the blood, a chemical in the body that is normally passed out of the body in urine and stool. In cases where the level of Bilirubin is high the baby may be given light treatment known as ‘phototherapy.’ This light helps to break down the bilirubin which is then passed out of the baby’s body naturally.
Three Transcutaneous Bilirubinometers were funded by Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity, with a grant of £13,571. They are held in the community at Helston Birth Centre, Truro and Penrice Birth Centre for use by all of the community midwives in those areas.