West Suffolk Hospital Neonatal unit introduces iPads in new initiative

Stephen Rooney with his wife Felicity Simper and their daughter Chloe Rooney.

A new initiative been introduced to West Suffolk Hospitals Neonatals unit.

iPads have been introduced to the neonatal ward in what is thought to be the first hospital in the country to make use of the devices.

They have been purchased thanks to money raised at the christening of Chloe Rooney with the funds donated to the My WiSH Charity. A total of £750 was collected which is being directed towards the hospital’s neonatal unit. The I-Pads are used by the mothers so they can see their babies while they are away from them while receiving treatment.The devices are set to Facetime mode so the mother can monitor her tiny tot.

Karen Ranson, the ward manager, said they have received fantastic feedback from parents using them. She said: “It’s a great innovative idea so that the mother can watch the baby all of the time while she is away from theward and can see the baby being changed and fed.“Anything that you can do to minimise the separation of the two is really good. “And we think we are the first hospital in the country to use these devices in this way as I have not heard of this system being used elsewhere. “We use it also for dads when the mother is in intensive care.”

​Chloe, who will be two-year’s old at the end of April,contracted sepsis from her mother Felicity Simper, who is a journalist and presenter with BBC Look East and who developed the condition when she went into labour. She was two weeks overdue and had to be induced when she contracted the illness and had to have an emergency caesarean section. For the first two weeks mother and baby spent time on the neonatal unit of the hospital after Chloe developed an infection. Mum was kept separate for a bit which is why she loved the iPad idea.
The treatment she received by staff at the hospital prompted the 39-year-old and her 42-year-old fiancé Steven Rooney to raise the money.

The couple, who live in Westhorpe, held the christening at their local St Margaret Church followed by a reception at the village hall. She said: “When we raised the money we asked the charity what they needed to help parents become more connected to their babies on the ward and I think that it’s a great idea to get the iPads. “The ward seemed really pleased with it as it allows parents who are not able to spend time with their babies to see what they are up to.“It’s a really good idea to have them on the ward and it makes sense as it would have helped me when I was in hospital and it’s a good idea of how to use the money we raised.”

Sue Smith, the head of fundraising for My WiSH, said: “When the idea of the iPad system was discussed we thought this is a wonderful and innovative idea to help reduce anxiety of any ​parent being away from their precious new-born baby at such a vulnerable time. “Imagine that you have just had your baby and it is whisked away from you due to being unwell; well now mother, father and baby can stay in contact via the iPad system. If mum is on intensive care or on the ward she will be able to watch her new-born baby. It’s not at all like having them by your side, but it’s the next best thing.“ We cannot thank Felicity, Stephen and baby Chloe enough,what a beautiful gift to be able to give to others.”