Our Approach

Our aim is to alleviate stress and reduce the isolation of families who experience neonatal care. We achieve this by:

Supporting Families

Due to our own personal experiences of neonatal care we understand and empathise with families who find themselves in similar circumstances. Our primary focus is on supporting the whole family, practically and emotionally from admission to the neonatal unit and beyond, working collaboratively with our NHS colleagues and other services. We offer a range of service to families including the provision of:

  • Peer support networks and volunteering opportunities
  • Dedicated support from our family support team
  • Trauma therapy and counselling
  • Online support networks
  • Sensory play and baby massage sessions
  • Community groups

It is really important to us that we communicate effectively and engage meaningfully, sensitively and positively with our families, partners and volunteers.

Communication and engagement

We understand the need to provide information in a timely manner and in the most appropriate format to keep them up-to-date and informed. Engagement opportunities are crucial to ensure that we have a better understanding of our families' needs and it is therefore important to us that they are listened to but more importantly feel heard. By doing this:

  • We can act as advocates for our families
  • We support parents to feel empowered
  • We provide services of specialist provision and facilities that are better promoted and signposted
  • Literature is meaningful, relevant, accessible and can be understood
  • Medical terminology is simplified, explained and understood
  • Families are consulted on services and feel encouraged and able to share their own experiences

Working together

We recognise we can't do things on our own and understand the importance of working together to provide the best help we can to our families. We ensure that provision is needs led and family centred by working in partnership with families, key services, and other organisations. This helps us to:

  • Positively influence care policy and provision
  • Maximise funding opportunities
  • Obtain best value when spending funds
  • Make sure services compliment each other and we avoid duplicating provision

Supporting improvement of the neonatal experience

Enabling families to better navigate the neonatal journey

We work very closely with the neonatal unit staff to improve parent engagement, and support the development of strong relationships with families and health professionals.

  • Supporting health professionals to better engage with families
  • Signposting to other appropriate services
  • Supporting coproduction of work with health professionals and families
  • Providing peer support via lived experience
  • Providing resources and packs to help families make memories
  • Providing practical and emotional support to families
  • Supporting Family Integrated Care
  • Facilitating a community of people with neonatal lived experience

Making Milestones

Milestones are important for parents of babies and small children. For parents of babies in neonatal care milestones are be very different. We understand how it feels to have to have the first cuddle you may have waited weeks for. We understand how it feels to see your baby in a clothes for the first time, after spending so long naked in an incubator. We understand what it feels like to bath your baby after weeks or months of wiping them with sterile water. These milestones are huge, and we want to help you celebrate them.

Welcome Packs

Our Neonatal Welcome Packs are available for families of babies who are admitted to neonatal care. Our packs have been codesigned with our families and neonatal teams to ensure they meet the needs of families. They contain both practical items and resources to support families in making memories.

Milestone Cards

We have produced a range of neonatal milestone cards which are given to parents on the units we support. These help parents to capture and remember dates of those precious moments.

Family Support

Our aim is to ensure the family have access to the right support at the right time throughout their neonatal journey and beyond

Family Integrated Care

Family Integrated Care, or FiCare, is a term you may hear a lot on the neonatal unit. FiCare is a model of care which is used to integrate you and your family into the team caring for your baby. We work with neonatal teams to promote FiCare and support positive relationships with families and health professionals. We support parents to advocate for their baby and be actively involved in all aspects of their baby's care.

Wider Family Support

Spoons is a needs led service offering support to parents, siblings and the wider family where possible. As parents or health professionals who have experienced neonatal care, we fully understand the challenges that families on the neonatal unit are facing. We are constantly engaging with families to ensure our services meet their needs and help improve the services they receive from other organisations.