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Neonatal unit has homely makeover

Tiffany Wood, Jo Hodson, Christine Dunne

Parents are benefitting from new interior design changes in the RUH Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to help them feel more at home whilst their babies are being cared for in the unit.

New colourful sofas, bean bags and a stylish coffee table donated by TR Hayes have improved the parent room making it feel more like a living room where families can go and relax. The kitchen area now feels less clinical with pictures framed by Meltone Gallery in Bathwick, colourful storage tins and bright, re-useable coffee mugs, provided by KeepCup.

The items were all donated thanks to Tiffany Wood (pictured below, left), a local interior designer who is a breastfeeding peer support volunteer on the unit.

She said: “As part of the volunteer training we had to imagine what it is like being a parent whose baby was in the unit and what it’s like to spend a lot of time there.  This resonated with me as I spend my time trying to make people’s homes not only look better but feel better and whilst the clinical areas in NICU are second-to-none, I wanted to make it feel more homely for parents.

“I approached companies who I have worked with and asked if they could donate a few interior items to make parents as comfortable as possible during such a difficult time for them. The suppliers who donated items were all marvellous and they were so keen to help enhance the unit with some homely touches, making it a welcoming and warm space.

“I would also like to thank bespoke furniture makers Fitting Tribute from Edington who built specially adapted lockers where parents can keep their bedding when they wish to stay overnight; while Seymours Home provided luxurious silk pillows and protectors. Fitting Tribute also made a bespoke chalkboard for the play area in the unit.”

Jo Hodson, Consultant Neonatal Nurse, RUH said:

“It’s the little things that make a difference. We have already noticed that the revamped spaces have changed the way parents are interacting with each other. They now seem more comfortable chatting to one another. And the children absolute love the chalkboard.

“Thank you to Tiffany and all the companies to helped make this transformation. There is no doubt the makeover contributed towards NICU being awarded its Unicef Baby Friendly status.”

The RUH’s Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care is one of only six neonatal units in England and Wales to be awarded Unicef’s prestigious Baby Friendly accreditation which was awarded last month.

If you would like to support NICU or any other department in the hospital, please click here