Support & Concerns
If you are concerned about your baby during their NICU/SCN stay it is important to communicate that with the doctors and nurses who are caring for your baby. If you feel that you can not approach the nurse who is looking after your baby you could ask to speak with the Nursery Co-ordinator privately or approach the Clinical Nurse Co-ordinator who is responsible for all of the nurseries.
If you are having personal concerns it may be appropriate to raise those with your own GP or the NICU/SCN social worker assigned to your family.
King Edward Memorial Hospital allocate social workers to the families of NICU/SCN babies. To make an appointment with your social worker you can phone 9340 2777 during office hours. Further information about the social work department can be found here.
All parents of NICU/SCN babies born at King Edward Memorial Hospital are able to see a psychologist through KEMH psychology department for a period of 1 year after your baby is born. To make an appointment with the psychology department you can phone 9340 1521 during office hours. If you require after hours emergency help you can phone healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222. Further information about the psychology department can be found here.
When a crisis hits normal life can be turned upside down, and coordinating offers to help into practical support can be overwhelming.
I experienced this first hand when a friend was dealing with health issues that meant she was bed-ridden for 6 weeks. My friend needed support, and there were plenty of people who’d offered to help, but it took hours to coordinate people and make sure she and her 5 year old twins got the help they actually needed.
This was when Gather My Crew was born.
Gather My Crew is an online rostering tool that has been developed specifically to support people going through a tough time to ask for and coordinate the practical help they need.
Using the expertise of people who had ‘been there, done that’, Gather My Crew exists to make sure people get the right kind of help from all of their well-meaning friends, family, neighbours and colleagues – without all of the stress that usually comes with coordinating help when a friend or a family member becomes ill.
It is a way to ask for help - and to turn that help into a calendar that tracks and records who is doing what and when. It even sends reminders and updates to keep everyone connected throughout the time the help is needed.
How does it work?
It is really easy to set up a Gather My Crew account. Firstly, you register to use the online tool via our website (www.gathermycrew.org). Secondly, you identify all of the things you and your family will need help with over the coming weeks via our 'click and select' list. Thirdly, you invite your friends, family, neighbours, colleagues, fellow school parents to help out. And then you let the online rostering tool do the rest. This can all be set up in around 30 minutes – either by you or by a willing friend.
Gather My Crew is a registered charity. The online tool is free and easy to use.
You can find out more at www.gathermycrew.org.
Susan Palmer (M.Psych, MPH, PhD)
Gather My Crew may be the perfect solution for your family to see you through bed-rest, the neonatal unit and beyond. It is not location specific so very handy if you are in a rural area.
If you don't have a crew to gather, never fear Dial an Elf is here!
Established in 2014 the Dial an Elf program has been networking volunteers with families to cook, clean, garden, walk your dog, provide transport and a wealth of other services so that families can focus on their children during long term hospital admissions.
When your life is thrown into complete chaos by the neonatal unit it is comforting to know you can access volunteers to support you in your journey, so you can maximise time with your baby in the nursery. Research shows when parents are actively engaged in their child’s care the outcomes for baby, and mental health outcomes for parents/carers are improved.
All volunteers undergo rigorous screening processes along with training to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your family at all times. Recognising that the neonatal unit journey does not end the moment you are discharged, supports are able to be continued until you are back on your feet.
We would encourage you to follow them on Facebook here. If you hold a current police clearance and would like to support families in a tangible way please volunteer with them and very soon you’ll be cooking, cleaning, gardening, collecting mail, putting a bin out, driving someone to visit their baby, or helping in another truly meaningful way.
If you are a current NICU family in need of practical assistance please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss applying for this program. Assistance is currently available throughout the Perth metropolitan area and volunteers are currently being sort in the south west.