Parents of babies in the Trevor Mann Baby Unit at Royal Sussex County Hospital can use an app designed by medical professionals that supports families of premature babies receiving care in the neonatal unit, featuring UHSussex tailored content.
The free app provides parents with easy access to information that can help them to understand their baby’s journey, medical terminology they may hear used, as well as specific information about the Trust and key contact details.
Parents can track their baby through their neonatal journey, including what each developmental stage means, a diary section to monitor their baby’s weight and suggestions of what they can do to help with each week of development.
Chloe Rogers from Burgess Hill is mother to nearly three-month-old, Oliver, who was born at 25 weeks and is being cared for on the Trevor Mann Baby Unit.
Chloe said: “During my pregnancy I was using an app to track my baby, what size they were now and how they were developing. Now I can continue that journey with this app, and I look forward to Fridays when we go up to the next weeks developmental stage.
“It has been really useful to have everything in one place instead of one app for this and another for that. I have found the expressing log really useful, and being able to add photos and document skin to skin cuddles has been wonderful. I feel I am able to learn about my baby and what he needs in the weekly developmental timeline and having more knowledge has helped me to feel more in control of what my family is going through.”
This educational tool aims to prepare parents for leaving hospital, sharing all the steps they can be taking and learning to support their baby going home.
The app was designed by Imperial College Healthcare who are leaders in Family Integrated Care (FiCare) which integrates families as partners in the neonatal care team, and following a visit to the Trust, UHSussex’s own FiCare team were inspired to get involved with the app.
The app allows other trusts across the country to sign up to use it, adapting it to their specific needs.
UHSussex has now signed up to the app, so it features local information relevant to parents with a baby on the Trevor Mann Baby Unit, including information about the unit, the FiCare team, handovers, and medical ward round times.
Within UHSussex, the app has been driven by the FiCare team who promote a culture of partnership between families and staff that empowers parents to become confident, knowledgeable, and independent primary caregivers to their baby.
The team, including speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, and an infant feeding nurse, are partners in their baby’s care and as health care professionals, are there to help support parents to strengthen the bond between them and baby.
Eleanor Turk, Neonatal Senior Sister and FiCare Lead said: “FiCare is all about making sure parents are partners in their baby’s care whilst on the neonatal unit, empowering parents to become confident, knowledgeable, and independent primary caregivers to their baby.
“Having this app is a really positive step towards them taking more control of their baby’s care and gaining the knowledge they need to better understand their baby’s journey.”
The Trust’s involvement in the app was funded by the Early Birth Association – the dedicated charity for the Trevor Mann Baby Unit and the Special Care Baby Unit at the Princess Royal Hospital who have also been funded to adopt this app.
Nicola Eastwood-Freeman, Committee Member and Secretary at EBA said: “It was incredibly important to us to be able to fund this app as we knew this would make a huge difference to how parents experience the units. Having access to resources and support at their fingertips is invaluable when faced with such a stressful and traumatic time.”
The app can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play, just search for ‘IFDC’.