The East of England Neonatal Neuroprotection group, led by Naz Merchant, Florence Walston, Claudia Chetguti and Topun Austin, have been awarded a £30,000 grant from the Health Foundation Q Exchange programme to improve parental communication for babies with neonatal encephalopathy (https://q.health.org.uk/news-story/announcing-the-q-exchange-2020-awards/)
The theme of the Q Exchange programme was to ‘Embed positive changes emerging through new collaborations or partnerships during COVID-19’ and the idea behind this project was to develop the use of video-calling which has been used to communicate with relatives and parents if they were isolating, for wider use, and in particular to assist in communicating with families whose babies have had hypoxic-ischaemic brain injury. These baby’s are transferred rapidly to the regional cooling centres and, particularly if the mother is unwell, it can be several days before they get transferred to be nearer their baby.
The idea is to develop a regional approach which is secure and sustainable to facilitate virtual communication which can then obviously be extended to other patient groups. The importance of improving parent communication for this group of infants was highlighted in the recent BAPM Framework for Cooling document published in December (https://www.bapm.org/resources/237-therapeutic-hypothermia-for-neonatal-encephalopathy)
This is a fantastic achievement for the East of England neonatal network and builds on the previous project almost a decade ago developing the coordinated neuroprotection service for the region.