New service helps parents to continue caring for their prem baby at home

23rd Mar 2022

Parents of seriously ill babies have praised a new service at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust which supports them to care for their newborn after they’ve left hospital.

The Neonatal Community Outreach Team (NCOT) helps to ensure the youngster has a smooth transition from City Hospital, in Birmingham, back to their home and that the parents are given the confidence to care for their baby.

The team’s support begins when the child is admitted to the neonatal unit. They work with parents preparing them for discharge and the care they will need to provide afterwards.

Carmen Nuttall, Neonatal Community Outreach Team Leader, explained: “The service is about empowering parents to look after their baby and having the confidence to do this. 

“The baby will be discharged once they meet a certain criteria including weight, feeding management, nasogastric feeding, and oxygen therapy or phototherapy. Once they are at home we will give them hands on support throughout their journey, ensuring we visit them one to three times a week.

“Being at home helps to promote the development of the baby, ensuring close and loving relationships develop between a family or carer and their baby.”

Little Jayvion just after he was born.

One mum who’s already benefited from the service is Melissa Hyde from Handsworth. Her baby, Jayvion, was born at 30 weeks weighing just 3lbs 5oz.

After a six-week stay on the neonatal unit, Jayvion went home fitted with his nasogastric tube – which carries food and medicine to the stomach through the nose.

It meant that the newborn was able to continue breastfeeding whilst also gaining strength and weight.

Mum Melissa said of the service: “From the very beginning when the team introduced themselves and explained their job roles, what they do, the services they provide and their end goals, I knew I was on board.

“The way they dealt with and treated my son was lovely to see and I felt nothing but comfort knowing that my baby was being well looked after.

“Any questions I had were always answered, there was no stone left unturned. They were very professional in the way they spoke and explained things to me.

“The optimism from the staff really helped me to get through the six weeks that my son was in the Neonatal unit.

“They constantly checked in on us and my baby’s development to see if all was going well. 

“Through guidance and support from the team, I was given training in using certain equipment that Jayvion would need – it definitely gave me the extra confidence boost I wanted and needed.

“It meant that I was fully prepared for the steps I would have to take at home.”

Jayvion at home with his siblings.

Once Jayvion was home, the team visited the family on a regular basis.

Melissa added: “The first home visit was definitely comforting as the team began to feel like family to me as they have been there from the start of our journey.

“It was bittersweet getting discharged from their care but its thanks to them that my son is happy and healthy and at home where we’ve been longing for him to be. 

“There is honestly not one bad word I can say about my experience in the neonatal unit. My baby is home and that is down to them. I want to thank them all so much for everything they have done for us. We truly appreciate them all.”

Mum-of-three Sharoon Sheikh, from West Bromwich also benefited from receiving NCOT support, which included advice around carrying out home phototherapy – a form of treatment in which natural or artificial light is used to improve a health condition.

Her baby Khidar was born at 36 weeks, weighing 5lbs 5oz. Sharoon was unwell prior to delivery and had been in hospital for 11 days.



Khidar receiving phototherapy.

After the birth, when Khidar was well enough, NCOT empowered and educated her to take her baby home and continue with phototherapy.

Sharoon’s family were delighted to have them home.

She said: “It was really comforting to bring my baby home as being in hospital for a long time was affecting my mental health too.

“Once I was home with my baby everything felt good again. The team showed me some videos and links about how the phototherapy works which gave me the confidence to use the machine, but I knew they were there to help me at any time if needed it.

“They were really supportive giving me all the advice I needed and helpful numbers. I am really happy with the experience and my baby got better within one day.”

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