The parents of poorly babies need to be physically and mentally strong so we have set up a group with a difference; NeoMates.
The family support provided by our Neonatal Unit doesn't end when babies leave hospital. NeoMates started out as a parents' coffee morning every Wednesday, but has now expanded to include national Facebook and Twitter groups with members from all over the country.
In addition to supporting each other, sharing advice and swapping stories, NeoMates often get take part in consultations, doctors' training and fundraising initiatives for the unit, playing an important role in improving care.
This is what some of our NeoMates have said about the group:
“This group has been invaluable to us in providing reassurance and a support group in an otherwise very emotional, frightening and lonely journey..."
“There are no words good enough to describe this group! It's the only group where I feel comfortable not one person looks down on you or judges you…"
If your baby has been cared for by the Neonatal Unit at Wirral Women and Children's Hospital you can request to join our private NeoMates Facebook group (see link in Related Links to the left of this page).
Alternatively, visit the NeoMates Facebook page (see link in Related Links to the left of this page).
The Neonatal Unit was refurbished in 2007.
The Neonatal Unit is now evolving into a Level 3 Intensive Care Unit which means that we can care for babies from 24 weeks. Babies may be transferred to us from other parts of the UK beyond the Wirral, Merseyside and Cheshire.
There is a Quiet Room on the Neonatal Unit where parents can spend time with their baby away from the ward. Here, mothers can express their milk and have private discussions with staff and family.
This room can also be used during the day by parents wishing to have private time alone or for breast feeding/bottle feeding. There is an emergency buzzer in the room and a telephone if you need assistance from a nurse or doctor.
Telephone are available at each bedside on the ward and a public telephone phone is available on the first floor. There is a direct parent phoneline to the Neonatal Unit so parents can speak to nursing staff directly. Please do not use your mobile phone in the hospital. If you need to use a phone urgently, a member of the nursing staff will direct you to the nearest available telephone.
Please do not use your mobile phone in the hospital. There is a pay phone available on the first floor. Ask your nurse if you need to use a phone urgently and she will advise you of the nearest available.
In the main hospital there are cafeterias serving hot and cold food:
- Annabelles on the ground floor of the main hospital.
- Bowmans restaurant on the lower ground between the two sites.
- There are shops and a bank on the ground floor.
- There is a reception desk to guide you to all facilities within the hospital, information is available for travelling within the Wirral and taxis are available to hire.
There is a hairdressers available for patients and visitors:
'Arroweheads' open Monday and Wednesday 9am-5pm
Thursday and Friday 9am -7pm
Saturdays 9am -3pm
Contact via switch board 01512 678 5111 extension 2170.
Aromatherapy and massage is available for patients and visitors via 'Body and Soul' contact through the hospital switch board 0151 604 7108 extension 4009.
Tips for parents
Sleep promotes weight gain and healing so promote sleep and rest for your baby, let a sleeping baby sleep.
While your baby is sleeping spend time at the bedside looking lovingly at your baby. This will help you to get to know your baby. Watch activities and expressions and get to know baby's personality.
- Provide containment holding during and after treatments and/or procedures. This is where you hold your left hand on baby's head and your right hand is resting on baby's chest or feet and supporting baby.
- Discuss with your baby's nurse a schedule to have regular time with your baby, ringing in the morning to find out how baby has been and what time the feeds are likely to be.
- Set up a phone routine to speak with your baby's nurse if you cannot get in for any reason. You may phone the unit at any time of course but being aware of the times of your baby's feeds and cares and the nurses shift patterns will help you get a working schedule going.
- Take pictures and videos and share them with your family.
- Use the parent sitting room to read, watch television and chat with other parents.
- Visit the shops, cafeteria or go for a walk in the grounds of the park. This will help you to occupy your time, refresh yourself and promote your milk production if you are expressing.
- We encourage you to have visitors but try not to have too many at once and also try not to pass baby around. Sleep promotes weight gain and healing.
As a new Mum you do need to rest and Dads need to support Mum and to get to know their baby. Some Dads take time off when your baby is born, others return to work so they can have time off when your baby goes home. This is an individual choice and has to be weighed up within each couple and family. There is no right or wrong way to come to this decision. Often employers are sympathetic to this situation and negotiation at this time with employers is best.
When a baby or infant is a patient in the Neonatal unit this can be a stressful and difficult experience for all parents. The hospital chaplaincy team consists of volunteers (male and female) and is available to all parents of children in the unit to give support by listening, prayer and being alongside. Baptisms and blessings of babies can be conducted in the unit if parents request this service.
Parents are welcome to visit the chaplains 'quiet area' in the sitting room on ward 52 where there is a prayer request book. There is also the chapel on the 1st floor in the main hospital. This is open all the time and there are services on Sundays at 10.30am and 3pm. Out of normal hours the switchboard can contact the duty on call chaplain.
'The death of a baby is like a stone cast into the stillness of a quiet pool: the ripples of despair sweep out in all directions, affecting many, many people.'
De Fraun 1991
We have a quiet area away from the immediate clinical situation where you can spend time with your baby. We are available if you need us. During this time your baby can be held, bathed and dressed, visited by family and if you wish you can take your baby home.
We will liaise with all religious and cultural organisations. There is a 24hour on call system for members of the hospital clergy to visit. Parents may use their own chaplain if they wish. Baptisms can be celebrated on the Neonatal unit.
We try to help you to preserve some memories of your baby by taking photographs; hand and footprints and when possible a lock of hair. These are kept and given to parents at an appropriate time. A camera and video are available for your use or with assistance from staff.
Follow up support
The staff on the Neonatal Unit will support you as much as they can as will your midwife and doctors and, on going home, your GP and health visitor.
We have close links with the team at general office who are able to guide you through the sensitive issues around registration of the death and planning the funeral. The team are very approachable.
The doctor (Neonatalogist) who has been caring for your baby will contact you to arrange a meeting to discuss any issues and offer support for the future.
Child Bereavement Trust
Leaflets and books for bereaved families.
The High Street,
Child Death Helpline
A helpful line for all those affected by the death of a child. It is confidential and operated from Great Ormond Street and Alder Hey Children's Hospital.
Freephone 0800 282986
Every evening from 7pm-10pm. Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 10am-1pm
Alder Hey Royal Liverpool Children's NHS Trust
Telephone 0151 228 4811 (daytime)
Helpline 0151 228 9759 (evening)
Leaflets from the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (SANDS)
Telephone counselling and groups for bereaved families
28 Portland Place
Helpline: 020 7436 5881