Infant Journal
for neonatal and paediatric healthcare professionals

Neonatal cooling education resources help treat asphyxiated babies

NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and partners have developed some new educational resources to support the Scottish Neuroprotection Care Pathway for infants with hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE). This work ensures the prompt and accurate assessment of asphyxiated babies for therapeutic hypothermia, which can be a protective treatment for babies when started within six hours of birth.

NES has partnered with clinical experts from the Scottish Cooling Group, the Scottish Perinatal Clinical Network and the PEEPS parents' charity to produce animated videos to complement these new educational resources. The videos are designed to support nursing and medical teams to recognise infants suitable for cooling treatment, and to educate about the importance of excellent parent communication when discussing diagnosis and prognosis. Three videos have been developed:

  • Video 1 demonstrates neurological examination and assists clinicians to assess mild, moderate and severe HIE so that only babies who will benefit are selected for cooling.
  • Video 2 supports clinicians in explaining the terminology for parents and the important role parents have in being with their baby during cooling. Parent communication is essential in explaining the condition of a baby and the need for treatment that sometimes necessitates transfer.

  • Video 3 supports clinicians in communicating prognosis to parents, a conversation that can be complex, challenging and sensitive especially in contexts where HIE is an infrequent event.

Julie-Clare Becher, Consultant Neonatologist and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Neonatology, NHS Lothian, says: “These resources will be pivotal in supporting clinicians in acute clinical settings to make the right decision at the right time to benefit babies. Parents need accurate and compassionate information about their baby throughout the cooling process and these videos walk clinicians through an approach to these sensitive discussions.”

To view the animated videos, visit:

One of the educational videos, which demonstrates how to identify babies that will benefit from therapeutic hypothermia.