Fewer sick babies are turned away, thanks to £1m appeal
A CITY centre hospital has been able to help dozens more sick and premature babies a year since new special care cots opened.
An additional four intensive care cots and state-of-the-art equipment were added to the unit at St Michael's Hospital a year ago as part of the £1 million Cots for Tots Appeal.
The appeal was set up because the hospital did not have enough cots to meet demand and was having to transfer about ten babies a month to other neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in the region.
And since the new suite of incubators was installed at the hospital it is estimated that about 80 of the sickest babies in the unit have used them.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
People across Bristol and beyond took the Cots for Tots Appeal to their hearts when it was launched in the autumn of 2010. A year into the appeal - once the fundraising had passed the half-way point - work started on creating the new suite for the four cots.
Since they opened a year ago with the most modern equipment available at the time the team at the hospital has focused on putting the most unwell babies in the room.
From January to October 641 babies - an extra 58 compared to the previous year - were cared for on the NICU as a result of the additional cots.
University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, which runs St Michael's said it could not provide figures for the number of babies who were transferred out of the hospital during those periods.
As well as enabling more babies to be cared for in the NICU the new room has more space for the parents as well as lighting that can be changed to soothe the infants.
Consultant neonatologist Pam Cairns said: "We tend to put our sicker babies in there.
"Parents can sit there without feeling in the way but is more private for them because we can pull the curtains around to give them more privacy if the baby is sick or they want a chat. It is still intensive care but because it is for babies it is their first home and they tend to be their for a long time."
Dr Cairns said that there had been a reduction in the number of babies who had needed to be transferred out of the hospital since the new cots opened, although it had not eradicated that need.
"Over the year intensive care units go through times when there is more demand and staff sickness," she said.
"We still send babies out but overall it has been a lot less.
"It takes a lot of work to stabilise a baby and move them out as well as being terrible for the parents, who are almost always understanding and accepting because they just want their baby to be in a safe place but we can see them crying as they say goodbye to their babies.
"There is also the trauma of babies being miles away and they might have a toddler in Bristol or mum can't move because she has had a C-section."
And as a result of the success of the Cots for Tots Appeal, which was supported by The Post, more work is being done by the hospital trust to improve the rest of the NICU, with the lessons learned from the four-cot suite being followed, including the state-of-the-art lighting.
"Nurses have noticed there is a lot less stress in that room," Dr Cairns said. "There is a whole science around colour, although it is not my area I'm sure there is some truth in it making a difference to healing."
Nicola Masters director of the Cots for Tots Appeal said: "From our perspective and all those thousands of donors who contributed to this appeal, this has made such a difference and it is fantastic achievement. Thank-you to The Post readers and everyone else who donated."
The Cots for Tots Appeal is continues to run the family accommodation set up as part of the campaign along with equipment, such as an incubator to help transfer the sickest babies to the most appropriate hospital for their needs.
For more information visit cotsfortots.org.uk.