Examples of the exciting research funded by Tiny Lives
Partnering with Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals, we are proud to have funded the Great North Neonatal Biobank, with initial funding of £14,580 in 2017, plus support continuing up until the present day. Based at the Newcastle University, the Biobank is a world-leading resource for scientific research into problems associated with premature birth, with research samples being loaned internationally. Samples stored in the Biobank include urine, stool samples and blood from premature and sick babies, all of which can help researchers to understand how to tackle some of the complex health challenges faced by these vulnerable babies.
Starting September 2019, this study is investigating the weaning of premature babies from high-level oxygen support (High-Flow Nasal Cannula Therapy). Improper weaning risks include instability, poor growth and risk of putting the baby back on oxygen, which is stressful for both parent and baby. However, weaning too slowly risks prolonged hospital time and parent-baby separation. This study, carried out on Ward 35 by an expert team led by Dr Rebecca Naples, hopes to identify a clear method for weaning babies off high-flow oxygen.
We have funded a new partnership project with the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) to develop an e-learning package for Health Visitors, to raise awareness with them about prematurity and neonatal care, the impact this may have on the longer-term development of the baby and best practice in working with neonatal parents. We are working alongside the iHV to develop a Neonatal Families Ambassador role. This included supporting an initial survey to Tiny Lives parents to investigate their experiences with Health Visitors, as well as the development of an e-learning package, including parent consultation and providing images/quotes. This project will culminate in a virtual training programme and e-learning for Health Visitors from across the North East region interested in becoming a Neonatal Families Ambassador, with the hope that the e-learning will eventually be rolled out nationwide, helping to widen the knowledge base of Health Visitors, and ensuring a successful positive experience for parents.
We support a whole range of projects to benefit the Unit and wider Neonatal community
The Butterfly Project is a package of research, plus a website and film, focusing on families who have sadly lost one or more babies from a multipe birth, where at least one baby has survived. The aim of the project was to better understand and support families who are going through this tragic experience. One of the findings from this study was the use of butterfly cards on incubators of surviving babies, in order to let hospital staff know that this baby was once a twin or triplet. This allows for greater sensitivity during care and communications with the family. The practice has now been widely adopted, with the project making these cards available to around 300 hospitals worldwide. Tiny Lives has long supported the project, offering funding toward the film and helping with promotion, as well as producing special butterfly Minboos for affected families.
In order to support the development of care and staff skills on the Unit, we have funded specialist staff positions on a pilot basis. In the past, these roles have included a Family Integrated Care Nurse, to champion the role of the family in caring for their baby on the Unit, and and Infant Feeding Lead Nurse, who supported Mams with breastfeeding and tube-feeding of their babies.
If you’re based at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle and have a research proposition that could help premature babies, we’d like to hear it. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.