Lynne Wainwright
Journal of Health Visiting, Vol. 5, Iss. 1, 18 Jan 2017, pp 26 - 31

The admission of a baby to the neonatal unit is stressful
for the family. Despite the drive to provide family-centred
care, research into the impact has focused on the parents, in
particular the mother. Most UK neonatal units do not provide
organised sibling support, with some restricting sibling visits
citing infection as a reason. Parents often struggle to manage
their older children in addition to coping with their newborn,
making this challenging time harder for the whole family.
During a travel scholarship to the USA, activities were observed
that allowed siblings to feel special and to voice concerns.
Run by child life specialists, social workers and charities,
these included support groups and individual preparation.
Anecdotally, this work has identified benefits to the family,
although there is limited empirical work to support it. This
article considers information gleaned on the trip that can help
define the need for, and inform, development of provision in
the UK.

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