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This year MedEquip4Kids is raising funds to provide special heated mattresses to care for newborn, premature and critically ill babies in intensive care units at Saint Mary’s Hospital, Wythenshawe Hospital and North Manchester General Hospital.

The neo natal intensive care units in Manchester promote a family-centred ethos, helping parents to be partners in their baby’s care by providing them with the right information, guidance and support. As part of this, and to encourage bonding, the teams encourage parents to have as much contact with their child as possible.

For parents, the incubator is often seen as a barrier to contact. Parents don’t feel comfortable frequently taking their baby in and out of the incubator, and any reduction in contact can have an impact on how a parent feels when caring for their baby. Once the baby weighs between 1.3kg and 1.5kg, they can be moved from an incubator into a cot. The transition into a cot can give parents a sense of control in the care of their child, which is so valuable to their wellbeing.

However, sick and preterm babies are not always able to control their body temperature, and as a result, when they are moved to the cot, they can have periods of instability with their temperature. Helping babies to maintain their temperature is vitally important as it reduces the risk of a baby developing hypothermia.

The medical team can help to control the temperature in the cot by using a special neo natal heated mattress, which ensures that heat is evenly distributed, and a CosyTherm controller, which allows the nurse to gradually reduce the temperature as the baby becomes more stable. This equipment is a vital tool in regulating the baby’s temperature and supporting the emotional bonding between parent and child.

Around 1,500 babies are admitted to the hospitals per year and we would expect the equipment to last for several years, meaning the funding would have a large potential number of beneficiaries and would make a real difference to newborn babies and their families.

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“The new beds for parents have had such a positive impact on the wellbeing of our children knowing their parent or carer is close by. But also for the parent being able to sleep comfortably next to their child has made such a difference to how they have responded to staff during difficult times on the ward. The difference a good night’s sleep makes is priceless.”

Vicki Healey
Children’s Ward Manager
North Manchester General Hospital

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