Minimising separation anxiety in parents

In the 10 years since Cots for Tots Appeal was first launched, we have funded over £2 million of lifesaving, pioneering medical equipment for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St Michael’s Hospital, and have provided parents of babies in NICU with a safe, private and free place to stay at Cots for Tots House during one of the most difficult times of their lives.

As the NICU covering the largest geographic area in England, the unit is home to sick and premature babies who come from far and wide, for specialist, lifesaving care. As a result, many parents are forced to split their time between the unit and their home which is often as far away as Wiltshire, Cornwall or sometimes even further afield.

While Cots for Tots House gives them a vital home-away-from-home during this time, just moments from the unit, these parents often need to return to their home regularly to look after their other children or to see family and friends. This can be a huge cause of separation anxiety and stress. That’s why we’ve been working with video platform vCreate to maintain that connection between parents and baby, even when they’re away from the unit.

Using Cots for Tots-funded devices, nurses are now able to use vCreate, a secure video messaging service, to record and send video updates of their special care babies to parents and family while they're away from the unit, minimising separation anxiety and stress.

One parent who knows just how much a difference vCreate and Cots for Tots make is Charlotte, from Swindon, whose little boy Saul has been in intensive care since December 2017.

Charlotte said: “Cots for Tots managed to get the devices and funding in just before Christmas which was just the biggest helping hand. With Saul’s older sister and brother at home in Swindon, we knew we needed to be there to try and give them the best Christmas we could. While we couldn't be together as a family, we were able to see these wonderful videos of Saul recorded by the nurses, and it helped us try to enjoy the day as best as we could.”

We wouldn't have been able to support this crucial link between parents and babies in the unit without the help of our wonderful supporters. Thank you for helping us make a difference to mums, dads and their little ones across the South West.