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Special care for parents of special care babies

Families needing the help of York Hospital’s special care baby unit have not been forgotten during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The special care baby unit, known as SCBU, is providing a whole range of extra ways that families can maintain the vital bonding that is so important to the early days and weeks of baby’s life.

Vikki Smith, Ward Manager on SCBU, said: “We have prepared for the situation where both parents may be unable to visit their baby on the unit for a long period of time because of the Covid-19 situation. It’s an anxious time for any parent to have your baby in the special care baby unit and we wanted to make sure we do everything we can to help them, especially if they are affected by Covid-19.

“Technology is playing a useful role helping them stay in touch and some time ago we purchased vCreate, a system which allows us to take both photos and videos of the babies and send them securely to the parents. It’s amazing!”

The unit has also bought two tablets so that they can keep in touch with families by using Skype - as well as cards, books and special boxes designed to help with the bonding process.

Vikki continued: “We are so lucky to have the York SCBU Support Group which raises funds for the unit. The group funded vCreate some time ago and have now provided extra items that help to capture those precious early days.

“We have special boxes with a keepsake bag for mum and baby – the one for mum has our SCBU information book, a Mini Boo and a card that we can write to mum from the baby, adding hand and feet prints. The baby bag has a matching comforter, a diary that can be filled with photos and information about the baby’s journey, and a memory card so that all photos taken can be saved.

“The comforters help with the bonding process - mum keeps one on her person to pick up her smell so that it can be placed next to baby in the incubator. It goes back from baby to mum with the baby smell which can help her with breastfeeding.”

The SCBU Support Group has also funded Dictaphones, so that parents can record stories, songs from siblings and music to play to their baby when they can’t be with them, and story books for each baby.

Judith Hills, nursery nurse and vice-president of the SCBU Support Group, added: “I’d like to thank all our fundraisers for their support. It is making life easier for families at one of the most overwhelming times we’ve ever experienced. To have a baby in special care is a worrying time but not being able to visit is extremely tough and we want to all we can to help.”

SCBU help in COVID

08 June 2020

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