September 29, 2020

Neonatal Unit takes families on a journey

The Northern Health Neonatal Unit has recently developed and launched new patient journey boards to help mark the milestones of our youngest patients, and communicate their family’s preferred care.

“The journey boards provide information about a baby’s care, important milestones, and information about their parents and siblings. It also gives medical and nursing staff a glimpse into the care that the family prefers,” explained Barbara Rischitelli, Neonatal Nurse Unit Manager.

“The journey board is interactive and parents are encouraged to write information about their baby’s likes and dislikes – while reminding us all that this little precious baby is linked to a family who loves them very much. They also highlight families’ choices and their values, beliefs and cultural backgrounds,” Barbara said.

Barbara explained the motivation behind the journey boards was to make the care of babies more individualised.

“Babies can never be treated as a single individual patient, as the parents and extended family are central to the child’s wellbeing, especially as our babies are with us for a long period,” she said.

“The idea was to give our babies and families a voice on what is important to their family unit. Nursing staff, at a glance, can have insight into the family unit and how they can assist in the family journey.”

So far, families have embraced the concept – knowing that even when they’re not around, their wishes are consistently being met.

New mum, Michelle, was delighted to see these boards in the unit for her baby, Georgia.

“What I like about the board is that it allows the nurses, that are here when we aren’t here, to get to know her personality and they can document her little traits,” she said.

“I think that’s really special for us because it’s quite difficult going home and not taking our baby, but we know that she is being cared for and we know the attention to detail the staff take notice of – like Georgia doesn’t like having her nappy changed for example,” Michelle said.

“We tend to forget that babies have their own personality  and we should always nurture those individual qualities. The journey boards allow us to do this, giving great satisfaction to our families,” Barbara said.

“The overall experience is one of confidence, partnership and empowerment for families. It makes them feel they are truly partnering with the staff and have a voice, in an otherwise unfamiliar environment.”

The boards are currently in a trial phase and will be permanently implemented throughout the unit in the coming weeks.

Featured Image: Michelle with baby Georgia