Infant Journal
for neonatal and paediatric healthcare professionals

Psychosocial support provision for parents: an audit of UK neonatal units

Having a preterm birth and/or a sick infant that requires neonatal care is an emotionally traumatising event for parents. This is due to issues such as parent-infant separation, concerns for infant viability and the technological nature of the neonatal unit. It is argued that neonatal units should provide a varied and sustainable programme of psychosocial support for parents during the infant’s stay and after discharge. However, currently there is a paucity of knowledge about what type and range of support is provided within neonatal care. In this article we report on an audit of facilities, services and support that could address parents’ psychosocial support needs in UK neonatal units.

Gill Thomson
Professor in Perinatal Health

Rebecca Nowland
Research Fellow

Claire Feeley
Honorary Clinical Reader

Maternal and Infant Nutrition and Nurture Unit, School of Community Health and Midwifery, University of Central Lancashire

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audit; psychosocial; neonatal units; parents
Key points
  1. While most neonatal units provide family rooms and/or nearby accommodation, these options are limited and often restricted to specific parents.
  2. Only 15% of units use any screening tools to assess parents’ psychological needs during infant admission.
  3. Over 30% of units do not offer parents appointments with a psychologist or counsellor, thereby failing to meet recommended minimum standards.
  4. There is a paucity of psychosocial support available to parents following their infant’s discharge from the unit.

Also published in Infant:

BadgerNet admission data entry: a quality improvement project
Completion of BadgerNet data is important for every neonatal unit yet often it is incomplete and the quality/accuracy of the data could be better. The aim of this quality improvement project was to monitor accuracy and compliance with National Neonatal Audit Programme (NNAP) data and to audit the accuracy of BadgerNet admission summaries. The project assesses outcomes in the local neonatal unit at Kettering General Hospital before and after the formal introduction of a set of improvement measures.