In the region covered by Health Education Wessex, over half of all admissions to neonatal units are babies who are considered term gestation. An audit of neonatal unit admissions undertaken by University Hospitals Southampton NHS Foundation Trust uncovered three main reasons for term admissions:
- (Mal) adaptation to neonatal life (27%)
- Respiratory Distress Syndrome (18%)
- Sepsis (13%)
The findings suggest that with better care in the immediate and subsequent postnatal period some of these admissions may have been avoided. It appears to be a national problem with NHS England recognizing an increase in term admissions as a key concern. Separating the woman from her baby can be emotionally upsetting and may impact on a woman’s ability to successfully breastfeed her baby. Babies when admitted onto neonatal units are subject to many interventions and may suffer short term morbidities. In addition to the impact on the woman and her baby there are implications for resources, it costs £500 a day to care for a baby receiving specialist neonatal care. Units who have reduced their term admission rates cite midwifery involvement as vital. Midwives work within multidisciplinary teams; therefore involvement of all healthcare professionals is crucial if term admissions are to be reduced. Standardization of protocols and guidelines appear difficult to achieve based on the various ways services are configured, therefore education on the basic principles of prevention is required.
Following an initial meeting with Kate Graham-Williams (Locum Consultant Neonatologist), Kim Edwards (Network Educator) and Teresa Griffin (Deputy Manager/Lead Nurse) to explore ideas of developing a learning package, a further meeting took place with Luisa Cescutti-Butler, Debbee Houghton and Carol Wilkins (Senior Midwifery Lecturers) to discuss educational outcomes.The meeting concluded with all parties agreeing to work collaboratively on an e-learning package and to explore possible sources of funding. Health Education Wessex has a responsibility to ensure that NHS employees are equipped with the right skills and knowledge to deliver excellent health and patient care, therefore they were approached and agreed to provide funding. Alison Potter (E-Learning Project Manager) joined the project and is managing all stages of the project. The project which involves Health Education Wessex, Thames Valley and Wessex Neonatal Network, Bournemouth University and selected supplier (LEO) have agreed to develop, implement and evaluate a multi-disciplinary eLearning module with an aim in reducing avoidable term admissions to neonatal units.
Luisa, Debbee and Carol are working with Kate on developing content (case scenarios) of the e-learning package and a workshop with all parties including supplier LEO will be taking place in December at Bournemouth University. A number of key professionals from the Wessex region have agreed to be reviewers including a set of parents who would have experienced their baby being admitted to a neonatal unit for medical input. The project aims to be ‘live’ in March 2015.
If you require any further information please contact Luisa Cescutti-Butler, Debbee Houghton or Carol Wilkins on the following email addresses: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com