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Royal approval for Rainbows Neonatal Link Nurse

Natalie Horton, Neonatal Link Nurse

A nurse at Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young people has received Royal recognition for her ground-breaking neonatal work.

Natalie Horton, was appointed Neonatal Link Nurse at Rainbows two years ago, following a successful pilot project launched at the Loughborough-based charity, a specialist care centre for youngsters with life-limiting conditions.

Natalie’s role involves working closely with Neonatal Units across the East Midlands region, offering a new service to help support families who experience the death of a baby before, during, or shortly after birth.

And already dozens of families have benefited from Natalie’s work alongside hospital teams to support the families of babies with palliative care needs to make a more informed choice about the care they receive.

Yet Natalie, was nominated by NHS England following her involvement with the leading change adding value framework which drew an invitation from Buckingham Palace to join other frontline nursing colleagues from across the UK for a Champagne reception - and to meet HRH Prince Charles.

Natalie said: “I had chosen to share the development of the neonatal role with NHS England to highlight the importance of the role and to demonstrate the impact on the families that we support.”

But she had no idea her work would take her to the Palace.

“I was stunned to receive an invitation,” she added. “But I felt incredibly honoured too, to be representing my colleagues at Rainbows in this way and standing alongside so many other inspirational nursing colleagues from across the country. It was amazing to meet Prince Charles too – he was so lovely and welcoming.”

Natalie worked as a nurse at Rainbows for 11 years before taking on her new post to raise awareness about the support services available at the hospice and to deliver aspects of that expertise across the region.

She commented: “If a baby has a palliative condition, and may have a short life, we can be there for the family to offer support as well as creating precious memories in a settled, family-orientated environment.

“For new parents whose baby has died, the support they receive is so important. To have given birth and to go home without your baby is incredibly sad. We are able to care for the whole family after the death of their baby and have the facilities to care for a baby after death within the hospice, or in the home environment,” Natalie added.