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New guide launched to help families ‘parent’ their premature babies


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Over 4,500 families were given a life-line today with a ‘Better Together’ guide that helps them parent their premature babies.

The ‘Better Together’ guide outlines 10 family-centred care giving activities that families can participate in when they have an infant in the NICU, such as comfort holding or assisting with tube feeding.

The aim of the leaflet is to guide families on how they can parent their infant in a positive way despite the clinical surroundings of the environment and highlights how their involvement must be seen as a necessary component of care delivery in the NICU.

The guide was created by the Irish Neonatal Health Alliance and launched by Minister for Health Simon Harris.

Mandy Daly, Director of Advocacy and Policy Making, INHA, said: “As a mum to a little girl who was born prematurely, I have first-hand experience of life in the NICU.

“We want to assure families who unexpectedly find themselves in the NICU with a premature or ill infant, that parenting their infant is possible and additionally has benefits for the infant, the family and the healthcare system. Our ‘Better Together’ guide outlines 10 things families can do, such as comfort holding or assisting with tube feeding. The ‘Better Together’ Guide is available now on INHA.ie.”

More than 4,500 babies are born prematurely in Ireland each year, equivalent to 1 in 10 babies born.

World Prematurity Day, which takes place on November 17th, offers families and health care professionals an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the challenges these special ‘early deliveries’ face, with many families affected by premature birth in attendance at the symposium this morning.

Health Minister Simon Harris said: “It is an honour to meet so many inspirational families and the doctors, nurses and allied health professionals who look after these babies in neonatal intensive care units (NICU) all over the country.

“I hope that the ‘Better Together’ guide launched today will help to educate these parents about the family-centred care activities that they can participate in while their infant is in the NICU setting.”

The full guide is available to download on www.INHA.ie

Online Editors