NHS Foundation Trust (UHS) – Southampton Children’s Hospital Neonatal Unit
What our client needed:
The Neonatal Unit at Southampton is state-of-the-art and purpose-built, and designed to be as a bright, welcoming and spacious as it can be for babies and their families. However, our client still knew that given the circumstances of any baby needing to be taken there, it could seem like a highly unfamiliar space, and one where parents would have many questions about what everything was and what it was being used for. It was felt that a virtual tour would prove to be something that would both inform and relax the families of the sick and premature babies as their care was facilitated at the Unit.
According to the staff, when visiting the Unit, parents often had concerns regarding the medical equipment being used on site, but may not have always felt comfortable asking what something did or whether or not the ‘strange sounds’ meant it was functioning normally. There is a lot of equipment around an incubator, so our client felt that a tour would both explain the functions of each items whilst also easing anxieties.
In addition, our client knew that something we may take for granted – such as being able to locate the Unit itself within the hospital – could prove stressful if parents were already anxious about attending, so part of the tour covers how to find and access the Unit upon first arrival.
Whilst the primary function of the Unit is to treat and care for sick and premature babies, the staff team were keen to include in the tour all of the other things that would help and support parents in making their visits as ‘at home’ as possible, such as bedrooms for exhausted parents, private areas for breast feeding, lounge areas for breakouts, and kitchens for refreshments.
What we did to help:
Our team started work by filming the dedicated neonatal ambulance, to show a main mode of arrival to the department. From this point, we were then able to navigate viewers from the front entrance of the hospital all the way to the Unit, getting them familiar with the arrival process to reduce any stress or anxiety they may have.
Once inside, we filmed all spaces, facilities and equipment, so that so viewers could familiarise themselves with the layout and the ‘feel’ of the Unit. We even provided an audio track so that viewers could see and hear how the machines and equipment worked, to reassure them of any noises and sounds they may hear whilst visiting the Unit. In addition, we overlaid videos with supporting text to provide extra information that would be of use to anyone visiting the Unit at any time, such as directions, hygiene requirements, and wellbeing support.
During our filming, we worked sensitively around the staff team, the babies and their families, knowing that sensitivity and subtlety would be key. Where possible, we spoke with parents already on site at the Unit to tell them what we were doing, which seemed to give a real boost to existing families in showing them just how dedicated to patient care and family support the Unit really is.