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Leeds Children’s Hospital’s Family Integrated Care Service Wins National Accolade

Tuesday 13th March 2018

The Leeds Centre for Newborn Care Family Integrated Care team at Leeds Children’s Hospital has been named Team of the Year in the national Bliss Neonatal Excellence Awards this week.

Family Integrated Care is the principle of empowering parents to take control of their baby’s care whilst on a neonatal unit, which is proven to promote better outcomes for both baby and families. 

Parents are given coaching on how to care for their babies including taking regular observations, giving medication, taking temperatures, weighing, and day-to-day activities like feeding and changing.

Bliss awardLeeds Children’s Hospital was the first in the country to launch the family integrated care service, complementing its world-class, specialist care for babies and children. The second largest Children’s Hospital in the country, Leeds has a mission to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people, and treats around 180,000 patients each year.

The Leeds Centre for Newborn Care service looks after 1700 babies each year. It is delivered by a multidisciplinary team who help to educate parents on every aspect of their baby’s care. This team consists of neonatal nursing staff, parents of babies born prematurely, an outreach nursing team to support the families when they go home, a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, psychology counsellor, a breastfeeding specialist midwife and a consultant neonatologist. 

Evidence shows that the approach significantly increases breastfeeding rates at discharge for babies less than 33 weeks at birth (Babies therefore have better weight gain and are more likely to go home up to a week earlier than babies that have received standard care. Parents who have gained knowledge and confidence through the programme are significantly less likely to visit the GP with their babies too.

Dr Liz McKechnie, Consultant Neonatologist at the Leeds Children’s Hospital, said: “We are really thrilled to have received this award from Bliss. The Family Integrated team, along with the whole Leeds neonatal service have worked hard to improve the quality of care provided for babies and their families. We strongly believe that supporting families to be the primary care-giver for their small and sick babies improves outcomes for both baby and family in the short and long term. The Bliss Baby Charter strongly supports our family integrated care approach.”

Dr Yvette Oade Chief Medical Officer for the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (which operates the Children’s Hospital) said: “This is fantastic news and very well deserved. We are fortunate in Leeds to have such a forward-thinking and committed team who have gone the extra mile to deliver this outstanding integrated care service. The results are clear - babies who have benefitted from the service have much better outcomes and parents have more confidence in caring for their child, ensuring that babies in our city get the best start in life.”

Caroline Lee-Davey, Chief Executive at Bliss said: “We have introduced our Neonatal Excellence Awards to recognise and celebrate outstanding individuals, teams and projects that make a real difference to babies born premature or sick through delivering high quality family-centred care as part of the Bliss Baby Charter.

“More than 160 units across the country use the Bliss Baby Charter every day to develop meaningful improvements to care that benefit babies and their families. We are tremendously excited to present our first Team of the Year Award to The Leeds Centre for Newborn Care - part of Leeds Children’s Hospital - in recognition of their excellent work.”