Caring for antenates and neonates
Every year over 80,000 babies in the UK are admitted to a specialist neonatal unit*. Unfortunately there are a comparatively large number of babies who are born but die soon after birth or who are identified with life-limiting conditions in the first month of their birth. For example:
- Some babies may be diagnosed antenatally (in pregnancy) with a condition that means they are likely to only live a few hours or days.
- Some may find treatment is not appropriate or has failed and is to be withdrawn.
- Other babies may be discharged but have an ongoing condition that will threaten their life and they are unlikely to reach adulthood.
* The term neonate refers to a newborn child usually less than a month old.
Our highly trained, experienced nursing staff provides specialist care to families
- Antenatal referral to enable relationship building with parents and provide the time to listen, reassure, advice and support
- Early referral for neonates to ensure babies with an ongoing need start receiving support (for example short breaks) as soon as possible
- Access to an experienced and qualified multi-disciplinary team of professionals including:
- A medical director and team of GPs
- Registered children’s nurses (including qualified nurse prescribers)
- Health care assistants (HCAs)
- Family team workers
- Development and delivery of individual care plans to include pain management and symptom control helps parents and the wider family prepare for how to deal with the actual reality, making decisions that can then be planned and giving an element of control
- Ensuring all appropriate resources are available – from information materials to specialist equipment
- Parents are offered the option to spend the limited time they have with their baby in a homely non-clinical environment onsite at an Acorns hospice– enabling time to be parents and a family together with their baby. Our staff work closely with families to create positive opportunities:
- Making quality personal time with their baby by supporting bathing and dressing for example
- Capturing positive memories in the form of photographs, footprints, hair, etc
- Space and facilities to allow for wider support networks to be involved during end-of-life care e.g. enabling siblings, grandparents, other family and friends to visit and spend time together with the baby helping them to understand the situation, develop bonds and make their own personal memories
- Developing appropriate ‘memorials’. Tree planting or balloon releases for example
- Compassionate extubation (removal of life support) at the hospice.
- Transfer to the hospice post-death with use of a special bedroom where a baby can rest peacefully after they have died, until their funeral.
We also provide non-hospice services to help families deal with the loss of their child on both a practical and emotional basis including:
- Bereavement support
- Therapeutic support groups for siblings, parents and grandparents
- Inclusion in memorial events