06.11.2018

Introducing Newcastle's new Neonatal Home Tube Feeding Partnership

Specialist nurses from the neonatal unit and children’s services at the Newcastle Hospitals are launching an innovative new service to help reunite premature babies with their families at home.

Neonatal Home Tube Feeding Partnership

The new initiative – the Neonatal Home Tube Feeding Partnership - was developed by neonatal and children’s community  nurses in Newcastle, and aims to help some premature babies leave the RVI’s neonatal unit a little earlier than usual, by providing extra support at home.

The final support most premature babies need before being discharged home from neonatology is with feeding, being tube fed until they are able to fully feed via the mouth. Regular visits at home by the children’s community nurses mean that they can be supported with this important transition at home.

“Our ethos is very much around caring for the family unit as a whole”, explains Nicole Colledge from the RVI’s Neonates Feeding Team. “The Neonatal Home Tube Feeding Partnership is a collaboration between families, the neonatal team, and the children’s community nursing team.

“The focus of the partnership is to assist families in their home with tube feeding, whilst their baby develops oral feeding skills at their own pace. It is easier for families and their new baby to develop close and loving relationships when they are the primary care giver and their baby is at home.”

To ensure these babies and their families get all the support they need, whenever they need it, the new service will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The children’s community nurses will have a regular presence on the neonatal unit, to build a strong and trusting connection with families identified as potentially benefiting from the new supportive approach at home.

Trish Doyle, a sister in the children’s community service adds: “What’s exciting about this new partnership is that although the team spans across community and hospital care and also across women’s and children’s services, we all share the same passion; to view the family as having a vital role in nurturing their baby as they grow and mature in their feeding ability.”

“Our role is to support them to do this, initially in hospital, and then as early as possible within their own home.”

Kristina Simpson, the family support team lead adds: “After over 30 years working in the NHS I am so excited to be part of this new service, enabling parents of premature babies to take them home earlier than ever before with an experienced  community team around to support their transition.”   

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