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Monday, 10 March 2014

More Sleep for NICU Newborns

Sleeping like a baby is an oft-used cliche. But while sleep is crucial for sick and premature babies to grow and recover, it can be difficult in a bright, noisy hospital.

However those in a specially-designed ward in Bath can be confident of getting plenty of rest.

When we try to soothe a baby at home we keep the bedroom dark and quiet. Yet many sick babies are cared for in hospital wards that are neither particularly restful, dark nor quiet.

"There's not usually any controllable light in a hospital, it's very brightly lit and noisy - a technical environment," says Bernie Marden, a consultant neonatologist at the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

The new neonatal ward he runs has been designed with the needs of the families, babies and clinicians in mind - resulting in a fifth more sleep for the infants. A senor on the baby’s nappy recorded movement to determine how much each baby slept.

The nappy sensor

The parents appear to benefit also from the light and space in the new unit - the bar stools they used to sit on have been replaced with reclining comfortable chairs.

"I used to get called down to parents in a panic - as if they'd had 17 espresso coffees. Now they're less anxious and tense and I sometimes have to wake them up to talk to them."

Breastfeeding rates have gone up - in the new unit 90% of the babies go home breastfeeding, compared with 64% in the old unit.

Source: BBC News

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