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Home away from home

2022-11-04T16:36:34+00:00Friday 4 November 2022|

Parents whose premature babies are being cared for in Walsall will benefit from a refurbished “home away from home” thanks to community and charity support.

The neonatal parents’ accommodation and breastfeeding room at Walsall Manor Hospital’s Neonatal Unit is currently being transformed.

This accommodation is used for parents to stay in while their baby is on the unit and the breastfeeding room is used for mothers to express their milk or feed in a private and quiet space.

The makeover came about following feedback from parents who described the rooms as “clinical and uncomfortable.” They have been thrilled to hear the rooms will be made more homely.

The refurbishment, which is currently taking place, is being supported by Walsall Healthcare’s Well Wishers charity and Charlotte Sharratt, charity founder of Libby Mae’s Little Angels.

Libby Mae’s Little Angels charity supports the necessary medical equipment needed to look after babies on neonatal units across the Midlands. It also supplies resources to improve the neonatal journey for babies and their families.

Charlotte said: “Part of the reason we wanted to support this is because when our Libby Mae was born (at a different hospital), she was on end-of-life care and we had to go to an isolation room which wasn’t very welcoming.

“We understood it was the only room available at the time but it made us think if you can’t take your baby home you want to feel in as homely an environment as possible because that is what usually happens for most people; you have your baby and you get to go home.

“It feels amazing to be able to support this refurbishment and have it benefit families who are going through the same thing we went through. We are able to give £17,000 towards this thanks to Inspiration Healthcare who heard about our charity and wanted to give us funding towards a cause that meant a lot to us. “

This funding will also go alongside previous funding from Marks & Spencer Wednesbury and Annette’s Pram Shop based in Blakenall.

Annette Owles-Bryan, owner of Annette’s Pram Shop said: “We are delighted to have raised £1,500 for the refurbishment.

“We chose to put the money towards this as it is close to our hearts. We have first-hand experience meeting parents whose babies are in neonatal as they come to our shop to buy prams and nursery equipment so we are thrilled that they will now have a nice environment to go to on the unit.”

The refurbishment will include:

  • painting throughout
  • replacement blinds
  • dimmer lighting
  • new furniture (bed, sofa, table, chairs, coffee table, breast feeding chairs)
  • wall art
  • soft furnishings
  • updated siblings’ play area

Shazia Tabassum, Neonatal Nurse at the Trust said: “I am very pleased about the much-needed refurbishment to our breastfeeding room and parents’ accommodation.

“Being a neonatal parent myself in the past, the journey can be turmoil. The use of suitable, up to date and modern facilities helps towards the reduction of anxiety and down time for parents. Thank you to Libby Mae’s Little Angels charity and Well Wishers for enabling this to happen.”

Lisa Poston, Neonatal Matron at the Trust said: “We are so grateful for all the donations and support. The difference it will make to our parents is amazing and it brings us, as staff, so much joy to see we are doing all we can to make this experience as smooth as possible.”

Georgie Westley, Fundraising Manager, added: “There are not enough words to express how grateful we are to everyone who has supported this refurbishment.

“Our charity mission is to provide the best experience possible for patients, service users and families and thanks to all those who contributed we have been able to achieve this. The lasting impact it will have on our current and future babies and their families is incredible.”

The refurbishment is due to be completed early next year so watch this space!

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