THIS DECEMBER, a very special
and heart-warming initiative is coming to the neonatal units at the
University Hospital of North Durham, and Darlington Memorial
Leo's and vCreate have teamed up to
provide secure video diaries to parents of premature and sick
babies for free.
The vCreate App will let
nursing staff in the neonatal units record video updates of baby
for mum and dad to access from their phones at times when they
aren't able to be in the unit.
When the baby is discharged
from the neonatal unit, parents can download all video clips of
their baby and keep them forever.
Lottie King, Founder of Leo's, a
charity that supports parents throughout their neonatal journey and
post-discharge, explains why the service is being made
"Parents whose baby needs to
spend time in a neonatal unit experience a rollercoaster of
emotions and unfortunately anxiety and PTSD are frequent. By making
this new service available, we will be reaching parents at a
critical time, they may be at their lowest point, but receiving
video updates from the unit, will be like providing a virtual hug
to help them carry on.
"So far the service is in the
neonatal unit at the James Cook University Hospital and Zoe's Place
Baby Hospice courtesy of Leo's and we are so proud to be able to
offer this to the neonatal units here."
The service, which costs
£15,000 a year to run and will help more than 1,300 families is
being funded by doting dad, Thomas Robinson. Thomas, who is
Director of Infinity Digital, based in Skelton, has taken on the
mammoth task to ensure families across the region, with the help of
Leo's, are supported via this initiative.
Thomas, who has been affected
by premature birth, following the admission of his daughter,
Penelope, to the Neonatal Unit at The James Cook University
Hospital, wanted to give back to the charity which helped his
family during their neonatal stay, and continues to support them in
Thomas said: "Once we heard
about Leo's plans to introduce the vCreate system, we knew we had
to be involved!"
"I know first-hand how hard it
is to go home at night and leave your child. I spent many sleepless
nights worrying about how she was, if she was feeding well, if
there were any concerns, I wasn't aware of... Most of all I just
missed her beautiful face! If there was something like vCreate in
place, I know it would have made what was without doubt the
toughest time of our lives, a lot more bearable!"
Ben Moore, Founder of vCreate,
says, "We worked with Leo's to support families during Neonatal
Mental Health Awareness Week, and realised that we both have a
shared passion for supporting families going through the trauma of
having a child who is born too soon or too sick.
"The cost this has on parents'
mental health is huge. By reaching parents early in their neonatal
journey and sending them cute videos that help ease the pain, we
are getting one step closer to ensuring fewer parents get diagnosed
with anxiety and debilitating PTSD."
The service will be available
for free to units and free for parents, who will be able to sign up
for the vCreate App as soon as they arrive in the neonatal unit or,
To find out more about Leo's,
head to www.leosneoantal.org or follow
the charity on social media @leosneonatal.
'I would like to thank all the staff for my treatment and their
Patient, Cardiology Department, Bishop Auckland Hospital