Working with the UCLH neonatal team, we have identified some potential projects which could improve the lives of families with babies in neonatal intensive care and cannot be paid for from NHS budgets:
I can't see my baby.
Families may live hundreds of miles from the neonatal unit or they may have other children or care demands. This makes it hard and expensive to visit their baby... especially if it's the middle of the night. In winter, things are even more difficult as siblings (and other relatives) are not allowed to visit at all.
State of the art, secure webcams, with features suitable for intensive care could help a thousand families each year stay in touch with their babies at any time of day or night. A common feature in American neonatal units, this would be a first for the UK.
It's 3am. I need a shower and somewhere to sleep.
A baby's condition in the neonatal unit can change rapidly and without warning. Parents may expect to come and visit for just a few hours one afternoon, but end up spending an anxious time at the cot side until the early hours, or even all night.
The hospital only has accommodation for two families at a time.
When shops are closed, providing a pack of little essentials is a way of looking after parents whilst they are focussing their energies on looking after their baby.
My 5 year old finds it hard to visit
During the summer months (about 5 months of the year), siblings are allowed to visit the unit. Visiting their baby is incredibly important for children but the neonatal environment can be hard for them and they often find themselves staying longer than their parents planned.
I can't afford to visit my baby
There is often a financial impact when families have babies on the neonatal unit. Parents may need to reduce their working hours or even stop working altogether. At the same time, costs rise as parents need to travel to central London, where they may need to buy food and other essentials based on covenience, not price.
A travel or grocery voucher can significantly reduce financial worries for a family, allowing them to focus on the really important aspects of having a very sick baby.
Medical ethics conference
Watch this space for information about the conference we are sponsoring.