14.04.2016

Newcastle's Special Baby Care Nurses up for National Award

Newcastle's neonatalogy team has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award for helping premature babies and parents bond by using a comforter designed to take on their scent.

The staff from the Special Care Baby Unit based at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) are finalists in the Child Health category of the RCNi Nurse Awards 2016, the profession’s top accolade for nursing excellence.

Members of the shortlisted SCBU Team

The award, sponsored by specialist journal Nursing Children and Young People, recognises innovation that improves the care of children and young people.

The team will find out whether it has won at a ceremony at the Westminster Park Plaza Hotel, London, on May 6 when the RCN Nurse of the Year 2016, selected from the category winners, will be announced on the night.

The Miniboo comforter introduced by Sister Claire Ellerby has helped reduce parental stress, encourage bonding and attachment and has helped mothers establish breastfeeding.

It is made of 100% bamboo to allow a soft texture suitable for both parent and baby that readily absorbs parents’ scent. It is antibacterial, eco-friendly and biodegradable.

Placing the comforter within the close proximity of the baby offers reassurance and comfort when the parent is not there. Furthermore, mothers expressing breast milk found the scent of the baby provided by the comforter helped with production, especially at home.

The Miniboos have been used to soothe babies going to foster care and to support siblings when they are being cared for in different hospitals. They have also been used to comfort parents who have been bereaved.

After the successful pilot, UNICEF visited the unit and now advocates the Miniboo initiative. Claire presented it as an innovation for future practice at the UNICEF 2015 conference.

Claire says: ‘We are very grateful to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award.

‘Improving the neonatal experience for babies and their parents is paramount to the care we offer. The stress of the hospital environment and the added anxiety caused by being apart is something our team is always looking to improve.

‘The initiative’s implementation has been a great success with both parents and staff, and to receive recognition for our hard work is a great honour.’

Congratulations to Claire and the team and good luck at the ceremony in May!

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