Neonatal Unit – Exeter

Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust

“Over the last five years, Exeter’s neonatal team have driven forward family centred care by actively engaging parents and healthcare professionals. Thought processes about ‘babies rooming in with parents’ have changed to ‘parents rooming in with babies’. This has proved challenging, but it is now universally accepted that families are welcome to stay next to their baby at all times, with medical and nursing interventions tailored around the family. Parents are now empowered to provide care, administer medication and not only be present, but take the lead on ward rounds.

Food and drink provisions and comfortable recliners have enabled parents to provide long periods of skin to skin. Parents have reported anxiety when siblings visit and we now offer sibling craft groups and availability of toys in the clinical areas. It is not unusual for the whole family to stay, particularly at weekends. Care in Exeter is audited by UNICEF BFI Neonatal Standards in 2015 & 2018 and the BLISS Baby Charter in January 2019. The change in culture has taken time to embed but we are now at a stage where it is universally accepted by the team that parental presence is ‘normal’.

The neonatal nursing Team are a mixture of staff who have been working for between a few months and 30 years plus on the NNU. In that time the culture and way that we work has changed beyond recognition. The team goes above and beyond to ensure every baby that enters the neonatal unit receives the highest standard of care.”

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