Paisley Daily Express
RAH baby unit staff scoop international award for their work
Paisley hospital’s neonatal team recognised by Unicef
A neonatal unit which cares for Renfrewshire’s sickest babies has achieved an international award.
The unit at the Royal Alexandra Hospital has been given Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative status for its care of the most vulnerable babies and their families.
Its staff have been recognised for their commitment in supporting parents to have close and loving relationships with their pre-term or sick baby by enabling them to touch, talk and care for their babies.
The stage 3 accreditation also acknowledged the unit’s approach to skin- to- skin contact and responsive feeding.
Lead nurse for women and children at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Tricia Friel said: “The staff at the unit are delighted to be recognised by Unicef in this way.
“Each year in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, around one in ten babies are admitted to neonatal units, having been born sick or premature.
“These babies are very vulnerable and frequently face serious challenges to their health and development.
“The parent-child relationship and breast milk feeding are vitally important to give these babies the best possible start in life.
“This culture change has been embraced by every member of the team and the unit is extremely proud to achieve this award.”
The Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative values parents as partners in care and ensures they have 24hour access to their babies.
It aims for parents to be seen as the primary care givers despite their children being in hospital.
This has led to the unit’s clinical staff providing specialised care, while acting as teachers and supporters to parents as they learn to care for their baby and any individual needs they may have.
Staff also work with parents to help babies to receive breast milk and to breastfeed when possible.
This includes discussing with parents the value of breast milk for premature and sick babies’ current and future health as well as development.
All parents within the unit are supported in their preferred choice of feeding.
Ms Friel added: “Staff have always delivered specialised care to the children, however, we now put the parents at the centre of care for their child which is hugely beneficial to the whole family.
“The benefits of this early closeness goes way beyond a baby’s stay on the neonatal unit.
“Our aim is to have a culture which supports parents to be primary care givers and nurture them in their role as parents within the neonatal unit.
“We have had great feedback from families saying they feel much more confident caring for their baby both in the neonatal unit and when discharged home.”
The staff at the unit are delighted to be recognised by Unicef in this way