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Transitional Care Unit opened at the John Radcliffe Hospital


A new unit where mothers can be with their babies, who need extra care after birth, has opened at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

The Transitional Care Unit (TCU), based on the Postnatal Ward on Level 5 of the Women's Centre, was launched by staff from the Maternity and Neonatal teams on Monday 21 August 2023.

Transitional care is where mothers and babies are cared for together, where the baby may need additional support and treatment in order to prevent admission to the Neonatal Unit. It also promotes bonding and parental confidence and supports feeding.

The TCU team can provide support if the baby is premature, has a low birth weight, needs tube feeding or is showing signs of infection.

The Maternity and Neonatal teams have been working closely together to set up the new unit, which has seven beds and a wellbeing room.

The decoration of the unit and the production of the wellbeing room for parents has been funded by charity Support for the Sick Newborn and their Parents (SSNAP).

Frances O'Brien, Consultant Neonatologist at OUH, said: "Maternity staff are already expert at looking after mothers and newborn babies so, by working together, Maternity and Newborn services can provide excellent care for babies who require a little more than the usual newborn care.

"Facilitating mothers' care for small or late preterm babies on TCU can prevent Neonatal Unit admission and therefore avoid the separation of mother and baby. TCUs maximise opportunities for skin-to-skin contact, facilitate baby-led feeding, increase parental confidence, reduce length of stay and reduce re-admissions.

"Transitional care is integral to the philosophy of family-centred care, and we are very grateful that SSNAP has helped by providing support with the needs of the family in mind."

Midwife and Postnatal Ward and TCU Manager at OUH, Annabel England, said: “The TCU is a fantastic opportunity for promoting maternal and newborn bonding with the aim of keeping mothers and babies together.

"Benefiting from the expertise of both Maternity and Neonatal staff, the unit will provide optimal care for the families within it, providing a holistic and positive environment and preventing unnecessary separation.

"We are very fortunate and thankful that SSNAP has funded a wellbeing room to create a tranquil space for parents to be able to come away from the clinical environment of the ward, as well as the decoration of the ward itself."

Martin Realey, Charity Lead at SSNAP, said: "SSNAP is absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to fund this essential element of neonatal care. Working with the Transitional Care team has been an absolute joy and it has been really fun seeing just how many non-clinical features we can introduce.

"We think this is a brilliant use of money to ensure we have a beautiful setting for parents at this time."

Pictured: staff on the Transitional Care Unit.