Regional neonatal care initiative launches at Rainbows

Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People was the springboard for the launch of a fresh initiative to improve neonatal care for babies with life limiting or life threatening conditions across the East Midlands.

A new neonatal pathway – essentially a care flow plan – has been created and is set to boost the quality of care for parents across the region who experience the threat to life of a baby before, during, or shortly after pregnancy. 

The development of the pathway has been led through a three-way partnership between East Midlands Neonatal Operational Delivery Network, East Midlands Children’s and Young People’s Palliative Care Network and Rainbows Hospice, and brought together professionals and families from across the region.

It was unveiled to health and social care professionals from across the East Midlands at a packed conference event at the Loughborough-based charity, which cares for youngsters with life-limiting conditions.

The ‘pathway’ will provide health and social care professionals across the region with information on how to offer the best neonatal care for these babies and families, acting as a framework and reference point.

Linda Hunn, Associate Director and Lead Nurse from the region’s Neonatal Operational Delivery Network, said: “Standards of neonatal care for babies who have life limiting or life threatening conditions across the East Midlands – which includes 11 NHS neonatal units – has not been consistent, or standardised before. So this is a regional first and will be an invaluable resource for those caring for these babies and parents, including midwives, paediatricians, neonatal nurses and social care professionals.”

The initiative – entitled Care Pathway for the Unborn Child or Neonate diagnosed with Life-limiting or Life-threatening conditions – is about improving care and standardising the highest levels of best practice across the area, she added, by providing a clear and informed resource which can be easily accessed.

Natalie Horton, Neonatal Link Nurse at Rainbows, commented: “We’ve worked with professionals from across the East Midlands with expertise and experience to create a resource for all staff involved with families requiring perinatal support. Essentially the pathway is a tool for professionals to ensure families are offered the available choices and receive the best care. It is about improving perinatal care by sharing knowledge, highlighting best practice and standardising the highest levels of care.”

Rainbows is the only specialist care centre of its kind in the region and supports youngsters with life-limiting conditions and their families across Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Rutland, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire.

Our picture shows Kathy Pearce and Amita Mahendru, from Nottingham University Hospitals making their pledge on neonatal care.