New support groups for families of NICU and Special Care babies

Communications TeamNews

A new support group has been set up to help parents and carers after their babies have been discharged from Hull’s neonatal intensive care and special care baby units.

“NeoFriends” has been set up by Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to support families once their babies are well enough to leave the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) and Transitional Care Unit.

Four groups have been set up in west Hull, Beverley, Longhill and at Hull Royal Infirmary so parents can spend time with other families who shared similar experiences following the birth of their babies at Hull Women and Children’s Hospital.

Sarah Sharp set up the groups with Hannah Hoff from the Special Care Baby Unit after speaking to parents and carers as part of her work with the NICU outreach team.

“A similar theme kept cropping up when we were visiting people in their home,” said Sarah. “They got support from the unit and the outreach team but, after that, they felt a bit on their own.

“They said they weren’t comfortable with attending traditional baby groups because they’d had such a different experience to those families.

“We thought creating these special groups would help them make friends and get support from others who understood what they had gone through in those early weeks and months of their babies’ lives.”

The support groups are held on Thursdays, all from 10 to 11.30am. The session at Longhill is on the first Thursday in the month and it’s held at Home from Hospital in Anlaby Road on the second Thursday in the month.

Beverley Children’s Centre hosts its NeoFriends session on the third Thursday in the month and there’s a session at the Haven, the new spiritual and pastoral centre on the first floor of the new entrance of Hull Royal Infirmary, on the fourth Thursday in the month.

Jo Milns, chaplain for Hull Women and Children’s Hospital and a familiar face to parents on the units, attends the sessions along with Sarah, who can help families with any questions they might have as their babies grow older.

Sarah said: “It’s a really informal get-together where people can meet others who understand what they’ve been through. They can also get signposted to other services and I’m there to help if they have any medical issues or questions.”

Families are welcome to bring their other children to the sessions as well as their babies.

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