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Our Approach

Our aim is to alleviate stress and reduce the isolation of families who experience neonatal care. We achieve this by:

Supporting Families

Due to our own personal experiences of neonatal care we understand and empathise with families who find themselves in similar circumstances. Our primary focus is on supporting the whole family, practically and emotionally from admission to the neonatal unit and beyond, allowing our NHS colleagues to concentrate on the provision of clinical care. We offer a range of support services for families to access on the neonatal units and within the community including the provision of:

  • Peer support networks and volunteering opportunities
  • Outreach sessions with health care professionals
  • Sibling support
  • Financial help with transport and accommodation costs
  • Provision of facilities, equipment and activities

It is really important to us that we communicate effectively and engage meaningfully, sensitively and positively with our families, partners and volunteers.

Communication and engagement

We understand the need to provide information in a timely manner and in the most appropriate format to keep them up-to-date and informed. Engagement opportunities are crucial to ensure that we have a better understanding of our families needs and it is therefore important to us that they are listened to but more importantly feel heard. By doing this:

  • We can act as advocates for our families
  • We support parents to feel empowered
  • We provide services of specialist provision and facilities that are better promoted and signposted
  • Literature is meaningful, relevant, accessible and can be understood
  • Medical terminology is simplified, explained and understood
  • Families are consulted on services and feel encouraged and able to share their own experiences

Working together

We recognise we can't do things on our own and understand the importance of working together to provide the best help we can to our families. We ensure that provision is needs led and family centred by working in partnership with families, key services, and other organisations. This helps us to:

  • Positively influence care policy and provision
  • Maximise funding opportunities
  • Obtain best value when spending funds
  • Make sure services compliment each other and we avoid duplicating provision

Improving The Neonatal Experience

Parent engagement

We work very closely with the neonatal unit staff to improve parent engagement, playing a key role in establishing Family Integrated Care on the neonatal units we support. We raise funds to improve the facilities and services available to families on the neonatal units we support, including:

  • Providing toys and activities for siblings
  • Bringing Christmas and other celebrations to the neonatal unit
  • Providing keepsakes and milestone cards
  • Providing furniture, furnishings and accessories to improve parent sitting rooms, bedrooms and breastfeeding rooms
  • Providing developmental care and positioning aids for babies
  • Facilitating social gatherings for parents with a baby on the neonatal unit
  • Providing books and keepsakes for bereaved parents

Making Milestones

Milestones are important for parents of babies and small children, but for parents of babies in neonatal care milestones can be very different. We understand how it feels to have that first cuddle you may have waited weeks for. We understand how it feels to see your baby in a vest for the first time, after spending so long naked in an incubator. We understand what it feels like to bath your baby after weeks or months of wiping them with sterile water. These milestones are huge, and we want to help you celebrate them.

Welcome Packs

All parents of babies admitted to one of the units we support will be given a Spoons Welcome Pack. We have worked with parents to ensure the packs include items they would have found useful for them in the early days of their own neonatal journey. The box can be used to store the keepsakes such as baby's first saturation probe, wrist band or tiny dummy. The welcome packs also contain unit specific information and guidance issued by the trust.

My First Library

Bonding with a baby in neonatal care can be hard, and the environment can be stressful. Reading to a premature baby who is in neonatal care can not only reduce stress but also aid babies brain developmental. It is also something that parents can always do for their baby and something they involve siblings in. All the units we support have a mobile library which allows the family to loan special books and all babies are issued a “My First Library” card.

Milestone Cards

We have produced a range of neonatal milestone cards which are given to parents on the units we support. These help parents to capture and remember dates of those precious moments.

Discharge Packs

The one word all neonatal parents are desperate to hear is 'HOME'. Regardless of how long your baby has spent on the neonatal unit, we believe one day is one day too long. Our discharge packs are given to all parents on the units we support to celebrate the biggest of all milestones. They include a special keepsake vest for the baby and information on the support parents can access in the community.

Sibling Packs

It is important to us that siblings feel included on the neonatal unit. It can become a little boring for them, especially when there is little to do to keep them occupied. Neo and Nat are our sibling superhero mascots, helping siblings on the unit to feel special, whilst also giving them some activities to keep them busy. Siblings receive a special Spoons Kids Club bag containing their very own sibling milestone card, refillable drinks flask and activities and puzzles aimed at their age group.

Family Support

We are here to support families throughout their journey within the neonatal ward and work with all members of the family alongside the parents of poorly children.

Family Integrated Care

Family Integrated Care, or FiCare, is a term you may hear a lot on the neonatal unit. FiCare is a model of care which is used to integrate you and your family into the team caring for your baby. The aim of FiCare is to create a good working partnership between parents and the staff on the neonatal unit, enabling you to be actively involved in the care of your baby from admission through to discharge.

Wider Family Support

Spoons is a needs led service offering support to parents, siblings and the wider family where possible. As parents or health professionals who have experienced neonatal care, we fully understand the challenges families on the neonatal unit are facing. We are constantly engaging with families to ensure our services meet their needs and help improve the services they receive within the hospital environment. To complement our peer support service, we also facilitate sessions which are delivered by experienced professionals.