The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St Peter’s Hospital are relaunching the Footsteps Pathway, and in line with the NICU philosophy of family centred care and working in partnership with parents, we are providing an accessible and easy to use resource pack. The Footsteps Pathway is a tool for parents to use throughout their stay on NICU. It will help them to recognise their baby’s progress and enable them to anticipate discharge-‘big journeys begin with small steps.’
The pack will be attached to the end of the incubator or cot and will include the Footsteps charts, parent passport, skin to skin chart and stickers, milestones cards, pencils, book and mirror. The parents will be able to take home the folder when their baby is discharged and it will be a personal record of their time on the unit.
Nursing staff will introduce the pack to parents explaining how the Footsteps Pathway works. Neonatal Community Outreach Sister Sue White says; “We’re encouraging parents to update the pathway daily and to ask any questions they may have. The mirror can be used during skin to skin to aid parents to watch their baby more easily; this supports attachment and generally enhances their experience. On discharge the babies will get a graduation certificate and hat. The NICU ‘Little Roo Charity’ has kindly agreed to fund the cost of these resource packs.”
One parent who has followed the Footsteps Pathway is Kryss Smith, whose baby Evie was born prematurely at 25 weeks and cared for by the team in NICU for almost 3 months. Kryss was full of praise for the NICU team and the Footsteps Pathway initiative and says “It was like recording milestones in Evie’s life and it made me feel more involved in Evie’s care. It helped to know that we were moving forward and getting closer to home.”
The overall aim is to enhance the parent/baby experience on the unit and encourage parents to be fully involved in the care and progress of their babies. It can be a worrying and uncertain time for parents so we are hopeful that the Footsteps Pathway will provide a lasting positive memory of their experience on NICU.
Pictured above L-R: Sue White (Neonatal Community Outreach sister), Jo Francies (Nursery Nurse), Suzie Wallace (Nursery Nurse), Alyson Wilkins (Nursery Nurse), Suzy Marsh (Nursery Nurse)