A guest article by Corina Croitoru, President of the Association Unu și Unu
Preterm babies, and ill newborns are properly treated from the medical point of view, but, the human dimension is often neglected. They are ‘just’ patients and the parents are ‘just’ visitors. By supporting FINE training in Romanian hospitals, Unu si Unu Association aims to change this situation.
The aim: “Through this project we want to support the babies and their parents. At birth, both the baby and the mother are very vulnerable and they need each other. The experience of the countries who applied the concept of infant- and family-centred developmental care showed us that this is the way to change the neonatal units. Because the units following the family-centred care concept have a huge impact on the neurological development level of the child, it could prevent disabilities and raise the bond and attachment between mother and child”, says Corina Croitoru, the president of the Association Unu și Unu. She initiated the project and her goal is to introduce these kind of centres where parents can take care of their babies in all neonatal units in Romania within the next five to ten years.
The project “Little human in therapy” offers the chance that the little patient can be taken care by his or her own family. This approach respects one of the fundamental rights that every newborn has the right to not be separated from his parents (United Nations Convention, Children Rights, 1989). In this way, the parents will not only be accepted in neonatal intensive care units, but they also will be able to practice Kangaroo care, to take care of their babies, to feed them, taking them into their arms during the painful procedures. All this will take place, of course, after the children are stabilised and while respecting babies’ needs.
Details of the project: Unu si Unu Association started the project “Little human in therapy” in 2 maternities: Polizu, National Institute for Health of Mother and child Bucharest and Maternity Dominic Stanca, Emergency Hospital Cluj-Napoca. 110 participants (20% doctors and 80% nurses) from both maternities attended the FINE LEVEL 1 training (3 sessions of 2 days each) by Inga Warren, Senior Trainer NIDCAP, UK NIDCAP from the University College London Hospital. Additional 12 guests from other maternities from Romania joined the course, in preparation of a future expansion of the project.
The feedback received from the medical staff was very positive: “The approach according to FINE principles will enhance the quality of medical care procedures with impact on neuro-development on short and long term for this category of newborns. The change of experience with the founder team from Great Britain, helped us with the implementation of the project in Polizu maternity. Our goal is to apply as many of the methods that we have learned as the position of the new born, building “nests” adequate for the needs of the preterm baby and create a special environment for the sensory development by respecting the epidemiological rules.” said Corina Datu neonatologist doctor in I.N.S.M.C. – maternity Polizu.
“It was an amazing experience, and the presentation was very good. Things about all of us knew are good, both for the baby’s and their parents. It is good to remember them and to try to apply as many as possible. I think is very good for the nurses to see these things and to apply them together after. Thank you so much for this experience.” Doctor Bogdana Todea, Dominic Stanca Maternity, Cluj.
The FINE Level 2 training focused on practical skills and on baby’s individual needs. This involves studying the way preterm and newborn babies behave. The baby may not speak but the way he/she reacts gives us an idea about how he/she is feeling and what kind of help he/she may need. It is important for staff and parents to understand these reactions so that they can care for the baby in the safest, most sensible and sensitive way. 6 healthcare professionals joined this level 2 training course, two doctors and two nurses from Bucharest and one doctor and one nurse from Cluj accepted the challenge of further training with the aim of introducing the family-centred care approach in their hospitals.
Outcome: Soon, the results of the course became apparent. Inga Warren declared that when she visited the intensive care neonatal unit from Polizu Maternity after finishing the course, she observed that some of the techniques from the course were already used.
After six months since the FINE Level 1 training, Kangaroo care has been practiced almost daily in Stanca Maternity. The smallest children who received Kangaroo Care weighed 800 grams, and we started to also involve fathers. In order to involve even more parents in the care of their hospitalised baby in the NICU, Association Unu si Unu supports, with the help of its voluntary team, weekly, practical workshops for parents and hand hygiene seminars, in the Maternity in Cluj.
Another result is the donation of products for the implementation: nests for a good positioning, gel positioning pillows, incubator covers, Kangaroo Care blouses and Kangaroo Care chairs, chairs for parents, baby feeding pillows, mini pacifiers, lamps with dimmer, weighing, blankets, storage boxes.
In 2018, Unu și Unu received an award by the Coalition of Patient Associations in Romania (COPAC) for the project.
Timing: The project needed a 6 months fundraising period, 3 months for signing contracts with hospitals, 3 months for FINE Level 1 training, 1 month for donation of necessary materials for the implementation, 6 months for organizing FINE Level 2 training + seminars for parents + parents inclusion, step by step, in the NICUs.
Contact details for further information: Corina Croitoru, corina.croitoru(at)unusiunu.com
Special thanks to
President of the Association Unu și Unu