Bringing hospital care to a premature home birth

Posted: September 27, 2019

The new course is the first of its kind in the country

Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's Maternity and Neonatal Services, working in partnership with the South West Ambulance Service and the Wiltshire Air Ambulance, have run a pioneering new course today in Swindon. The course, which is the first of its kind in the country, is designed to teach skills and knowledge to help with life support for premature babies born at home unexpectedly

For the past four years, the Trust has run the nationally accredited Newborn Life Support Course for midwives, doctors, and other practitioners who support babies at the time of birth.

However, there are unique challenges posed when newborns require extra care or resuscitation outside the hospital setting, such as when a baby is unexpectedly born very prematurely at home, or a planned home birth becomes complicated.

Delivering high quality resuscitation, as well as thermal care and stabilisation, is vital in helping these babies survive and achieve the best outcome.

The course, which was attended by the Trust's community midwifery staff, Wiltshire Air Ambulance medics and paramedics from across the South West of England, focused on the unique skills of neonatal resuscitation, as well as premature baby stabilisation.

Sarah Bates, Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatologist, directed the new course today. "This is a truly innovative course," she said.

"We were lucky to have a multidisciplinary group of instructors from across the region, including paramedics', midwives, neonatal nurses and paediatric doctors, who all gave their own time to help.

"I'm so excited to see the benefits of the course and the effect it will have on sick or premature babies who are born unexpectedly outside of hospital. We hope that, by equipping the pre-hospital teams with specialist training in this area, we can increase the chance of survival for these babies, and help them to achieve the best possible outcome."

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