Tiny Lives is a charitable trust based at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne. It supports the Newcastle Neonatal Service that cares for premature and sick babies from across the North East and Cumbria.
Providing staff training, research, equipment, staffing and family centred care, Tiny Lives cares for up to 34 babies at any one time thanks to more than 120 nurses and 30 doctors. In 2012/13, the unit cared for almost 700 babies including 209 who had been transferred to the RVI from other regional hospitals.
Tiny Lives is responsible for fundraising and awarding grants which aim to provide the highest quality of neonatal care for more than 800 babies each year. The trust provides a number of regularly funded items including developmental care aids and equipment, including a simulation baby training kit which mimics a newborn baby.
On top of this, it funds the costs of travel and attendance for nursing staff at study days, the cost of parents’ travel expenses, sweatshirts for the Neonatal Transport Team and bereavement support which includes a quiet room on ward 35, digital photographs and an annual memorial service.
There are also on-site flats provided for some parents to stay at the RVI while their baby is in the care unit, which must be maintained and revamped over time. The flats once again demonstrate Tiny Lives’ objective to reduce as much of the pressure and stress put on parents during this difficult time.
A lot of equipment is needed to provide babies with the best comfort and care possible, while being able to provide parents with the same amount of comfort and make their experience as pleasant as possible.
The SimBaby™ gives doctors and nurses the chance to put themselves in real life situations because of their capabilities of accurately mimicking a real life baby, allowing those with no previous experience in newborn resuscitation to train and have a go at things without putting any risk on a real life baby.
Other equipment provided by Tiny Lives includes:
Meanwhile, a baby wouldn’t be complete without a dummy and teddy bear, so these are also provided by Tiny Lives – as well as a number of other items outlined below.
Tiny Lives also provides Freddy Frog positioning aids in order to help the tiny limbs of the babies stay in place, while a special Cuski blanket is also provided for both the parents and baby, which they can swap after one night and take into their own beds so parents always feel close to their baby.
Perhaps the most unique piece of equipment Tiny Lives provides is special sun-protective wrist bands – available for both parents and children alike.
These are actually ingenious inventions. All you or your child must do for them to work is put them on when you go out in the sun and when you get too hot the wristbands glow, indicating you need to top up your sunscreen.
It’s also crucially important for parents to be able to chart their baby’s progress during the early critical days, weeks or in some cases even months of care, which is where the memory boxes, journal and sticker charts provided by Tiny Lines are of great comfort to parents.
The sticker chart has a number of categories, as the image shows, ranging from when a baby is in the ‘red area’ meaning critical, right through to when their health improves and they come off the ventilator and eventually reach other milestones in their recovery such as when they completed their first bottle feed and went into their cot.
What Tiny Lives often find is that parents tend to keep these progress charts and journals for the rest of their lives as a keepsake, which both they and their child can look back on in the future.
Research is, of course, critical to help medical staff to find new and improved ways of caring for premature and sick newborns.
By meeting the costs of a number of research studies in recent years, Tiny Lives Trust has ensured the unit stays at the forefront of developments in neonatal care by publishing the findings in medical and nursing journals, helping to improve the care of premature and sick newborns across the world.
Below are some of the research projects Tiny Lives has previously funded:
We make regular donations each month to Tiny Lives. We donate a fixed monthly sum which equates to £10 per each employee we have, while on top of this we also donate £10 per each customer review we receive via external review website, Trustpilot.
Also, why not get involved socially and follow Tiny Lives’ journey by Liking them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TinyLivesRVI or Following their official Twitter account at https://twitter.com/TinyLivesTrust.