Imperial College Healthcare Trust – Department of Neonatology: Integrated Family Delivered Care Project (IFDC)
Parents with premature or unwell babies can have very little involvement in caring for their babies while they are in a neonatal unit. Imperial College Healthcare Trust devised a programme to help those with babies in the level three neonatal intensive care units take over some of the care – an approach which has been linked with better bonding, parental mental health and infant health outcomes elsewhere.
Working with parents whose children had been cared for in the units, the trust devised training and development material to help them do this. Parents can assess information on an app, and have regular small group or one-to-one teaching sessions helping them work through a series of competencies which allow them to take over care of their baby for at least 6-8 hours a day, once they are medically stable.
They are supported by project coordinators and a psychology assistant. Staff in the unit also have a half-day educational programme to help them with this shift in relationships. The app has been downloaded over 700 times and 48 families have taken part in this model of care. Interest in the approach is growing across the UK.
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