Objective To assess how UK neonatal units address parent communication, support and information needs during neonatal care and the early months after discharge.
Design All units were invited to participate in a survey of practice and policy relating to the needs of parents with babies admitted for neonatal care.
Setting Neonatal care, UK.
Main Outcome Measures Proportions of units by unit level providing specific facilities, information, policies and support mechanisms.
Results Facilities, information and support for parents vary and can be quite limited: units may have as many as 10 babies receiving intensive or high dependency care in one room; 24% have no rooms in which to accommodate one or two babies only; 96% have at least one room for parents to stay overnight, 27% of rooms have ensuite amenities; 72% have written information about the equipment used, 64 % on ventilation and 91% on breastfeeding; parents have free access to notes in 20% of units and in 14% parents are excluded from ward rounds; 27% have a policy on keeping in contact with parents, 47% did not have the services of a social worker, psychologist, counsellor or psychiatrist and only 15% have a unit-based family care nurse.
Conclusions Elements of unit policy and practice that support family-centred care are variably in place currently and units need to address the gaps.
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