Family-centred care involves families in the care of their own children, it has been identified as key to future neonatal service delivery by NHS England (in 2013) and the British Association of Perinatal Medicine (in 2014). The Integrated Family Delivered Neonatal Care (IFDC) team aim is to work in partnership with parents to create a consistent, nurturing environment where they feel engaged, enabled, educated and empowered as the primary caregivers to their baby.
Our neonatal service at St Mary’s and Queen Charlotte’s Hospitals, support the principles of family-integrated care. Parents are encouraged to attend ward rounds, present their babies and participate in the decision making process, and have skin-to-skin cuddles. Our units offer a donor milk bank and our breastfeeding rates at discharge are above the national average.
The IFDC project aims to support parents to become equal members of the neonatal team and participate in providing active care for their infant with the help of a comprehensive educational programme and competency based training.
Studies have shown that incorporating family-integrated care on a neonatal unit, showed decreased parental anxiety and depression, increased bonding, improved infant health, a reduction in infection rates and a decreased length of stay. As well as medical benefits, babies receiving more care from their parents gained weight better. Encouraging parents to spend as much time as possible in giving skin-to-skin/kangaroo care led to better bonding and increased rates of breastfeeding. Preventing the separation of mothers and their babies, and keeping them in skin-to-skin contact to provide comfort, soothing and interaction with their babies, appears to safeguard the potentially toxic effects of stress. Overall this improves outcomes and helps the development of coping strategies, reducing depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress.
COSMIC is proud to support this work and helps fund items and projects for these teams.