An innovative new jacket is helping families bond with their babies in Nottingham’s maternity theatres.
The jacket is an alternative to traditional theatre scrubs that parents have to wear if their baby is born via caesarean.
It means that parents of new-borns can have skin to skin contact with their baby – an important part of the bonding process – without having to take their top off entirely.
The use of the jacket has now earned the Trust’s maternity theatres team a shortlisting in the Patient Experience Network National Award (PENNA).
Kim Hope, from Maternity Operating Theatres at City Hospital said: “Feedback from new parents really drove this initiative. Before we introduced the new soft jacket birthing partners and new parents would struggle to comfortably have skin to skin contact with their new-born babies in theatre due to the restrictiveness of the green theatre scrub tops.
“One partner feedback said he would have liked to have experienced skin to skin contact with his new baby and did take his top off but mentioned feeling vulnerable and exposed. A female partner to a woman wanted to experience skin to skin with their new-born but again didn’t feel comfortable sitting in the theatres in her bra.”
She added: “I am proud of the team for introducing this and it’s a privilege to be involved in something that make such a difference to our patient and partners experience in Maternity Theatres and if the patient is happy, we are happy.”
Rebecca Wine, a Theatre Support Worker and Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) champion for the team set about sourcing a different style of theatre scrub top that would be easily accessible for baby and partner bonding and which would allow the midwife to see how the baby is getting on.
Rebecca said: “I found a suitable jacket and presented it to the City and QMC midwives for their opinions, it was well received here so we then trialled the new jackets on a couple of patients whose positive feedback suggested it really was a great idea.”
She added: “The birth of a child is probably one of the most emotional and joyous times for a couple, and we feel honoured to be able to be part of this experience and hopefully by listening to and reacting on patient feedback make the occasion even better.”
Nottingham’s hospitals are home to four obstetric theatres. 25 theatre staff care for birth mothers and their partners in all aspects of elective and emergency obstetric surgery. The new soft jacket is now offered to the birthing partners and parents attending theatres.
The team were shortlisted for the ‘NHS Funded project’ award by PENNA and shared a presentation on their project at the award ceremony at Birmingham Repertory.