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Leeds Neonatal Outreach service named Team of the Year

A Neonatal Outreach service in Leeds has won the Team of the Year Award, sponsored by Glyndwr University, at the Nursing in Practice Awards in Birmingham.

The Leeds Neonatal Outreach Team cares for families both within the hospital and community setting.

Short-term nasogastric feeding within neonatal community care is a relatively new and untapped practice, unlike the routine practice of long-term nasogastric feeding.

In late 2006 the Neonatal Outreach Team (NOT) was asked to explore ways in which early discharge of well, near term babies could safely be promoted.

Primarily, this was to reunite babies with their families as early as possible, which has obvious benefits for all the family.

The second driver was to ensure that there were no cots blocked unnecessarily, thus preventing admission of new babies to the unit. This, in turn, would reduce the risk of families experiencing the stress of having their baby/babies transferred to other neonatal units, often miles away from their home town.

Project methods
•    Historical overview of nasogastric tube feeding pathways within LTHT neonatal services and within Leeds community settings.

•    Telephone audit of local NNUs asking for their experience of short-term home tube feeding.

•    Current literature search.

•    Multidisciplinary approach via clinical operations/improving care meetings.

•    Team coaching sessions.

•    Production of risk assessment documentation.

•    Production of policy guideline.

•    Production of a parental teaching package that offers three pathway options.

From April 2007 to March 2008, 12 babies were discharged home for short-term tube feeding. There was a reduction of 162 NNU days in hospital. Between April 2008 and March 2009, 28 babies were discharged home for short-term tube feeding. There has been a reduction of 313 NNU days in hospital.

Comments from parents have included: "We were just so happy to take Daisy home, and tube feeding her was not as hard as we thought" (Mum of Daisy who was born at 28 weeks and tube fed at home for 15 days).

"Tube feeding at home was fantastic - it helped us take all our girls home at the same time" (Mum of 29 week triplets Aoife, Aine and Ailish, who tube fed at home until she established full breast feeding.)

"I was very anxious at first, but I had lots of help with all the tube feeding information and all the community support we received when Yusef came home" (Mum of Yusef who was born at 26 weeks and tube fed at home for 15 days).