Southmead Hospital Charity funds NICU drug boxes

Michelle Jackson, NICU Matron, Stacy Hazelhurst mum to three week old twin boys Billy and Jude, Lisa Ramsey, NICU lead nurse.

Southmead Hospital Charity has funded new drug boxes to help parents of babies in neo-natal intensive care prepare for their discharge home.

­­­­­The pin-controlled secure boxes are wall-mounted next to each baby’s cot which allows medicines to be safely stored so parents can access the medication to learn how to administer the drugs themselves to their babies.

Two weeks before discharge parents will be shown how to use the medications that their baby needs and will be expected to prepare and administer them so that they are used to doing this unaided before they go home.

Until now parents are shown how to use medications on the day they leave hospital, which can add to the anxiety and fear that many parents feel when taking their babies home for the first time after a long spell in NICU - often many months.

It is hoped that by allowing parents a longer time to get used to drug routines and giving them a sense of ownership it will make the transition from hospital to home a lot easier.

Southmead Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) provides intensive care, high dependency care, special care and transitional care for hundreds of babies each year.

As well as caring for babies who are born too soon or with health conditions in their first weeks of life, the team of staff support parents through what can be a very difficult journey.

Michelle Jackson, NICU Matron, said: “The lower dependency room is where babies and parents are preparing to go home, and each drug box contains the medication specifically for that baby’.

“Enabling parents to learn how to draw up medications well in advance of going home will give them the confidence to do it themselves,  by doing this we are working towards a family integrated care approach where parents do as much as possible for their babies in preparation for going home.”

Lisa Ramsey, NICU lead nurse for developmental care, said: “Previously parents would get shown on the day of discharge how to use the medicines they need and it would sometimes be rushed, but after two weeks of doing it themselves they should be confident to do it at home’.

“When we visit parents at home they have told us that they find checking the drugs on those first few days quite stressful because they are on their own for the first time.

“We’re pleased we’ve been able to come up with a solution in response to those difficulties.”

Southmead Hospital Charity provided £1,000 for the drugs boxes and the scheme will start in September. 

The charity has also provided funding for an emergency ‘food bank’ in NICU for parents to access canned and dried foods whilst staying on the unit, led by Junior Sister Chrissy Firmin.

The unit have also set up a ‘book bank’ of pre-loved books donated by staff for parents to borrow.

Elizabeth Bond, head of fundraising for Southmead Hospital Charity, said: “This is a brilliant example of a team listening to the people they care for and coming up with a solution that makes their journey a little bit easier.

“NICU has such an overwhelming amount of support from the families of babies treated in the unit and we are grateful for the donations and the hard work of fundraisers who contribute so much to the charity’s NICU fund.”

If you’d like to fundraise for Southmead Hospital Charity’s NICU fund visit www.southmeadhospitalcharity.org.uk/events  

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