Enhancing neonatal care at a leading London NHS trust

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Enhancing neonatal care at a leading London NHS trust

The neonatal unit at one of the leading London NHS trusts in the UK is using CardMedic to reassure new families that have additional communication needs that their newborn babies are being looked after, improving trust between families and care teams. 

The Garcia family had full confidence in their baby’s neonatal care despite not being able to speak English

The neonatal unit at one of the leading London NHS trusts in the UK is using CardMedic to reassure new families that have additional communication needs that their newborn babies are being looked after, improving trust between families and care teams.

CardMedic is helping families in London to better understand the care that their babies are receiving.

The neonatal unit takes care of 1,000 babies and families per year. Around 40% of these families have additional communication needs, such as language barriers. By working with CardMedic, the trust is achieving:

  • Reduced time spent explaining care processes to families, releasing time to care
  • Reduced reliance on costly and less
    accessible interpretation and
    translation services
  • Reduced health inequalities for families
    seeking neonatal care with additional
    communication needs
  • Improved experience for families
    with babies being cared for in the
    neonatal unit
  • Improved confidence in care services
    for parents
The challenge

In neonatal care, patients are usually prematurely born babies who are unwell. Often, complicated procedures with lots of equipment need to be carried out to get them better. It is very important that when this happens, the family are well informed, to reassure them that their child is being taken care of.  

Traditionally, families have been informed on the different elements of care their baby is receiving through face-to-face conversations with clinicians, and leaflets detailing various procedures, all written in English. However, this London-based trust serves a diverse population, with families speaking over 300 languages.  

For many, English is not their first language, meaning these ways of communicating were ineffective. As a result of not being able to communicate, families were left feeling anxious and confused.  

While the trust does use other interpreter services, these are not always available, and can often take a long time to source. What’s more, when these conversations do take place, they are often in highly stressful situations. How much are you likely to remember when you are worried about your unwell newborn? This often means the information isn’t always fully absorbed, with no reliable resources to refer back to.  

The solution - how CardMedic is helping

CardMedic provides families with a trusted, reliable tool that enables them to communicate safely and effectively with doctors and nurses, to understand and feel confident in the care their baby is receiving.  

CardMedic fills regular gaps in service provision, enabling patients and families to readily communicate with their care team, when interpreters are not readily available. The app is available in multiple languages and accessible formats enabling instant communication, so that parents understand what is happening to them and their children. 

Since CardMedic is available as an app on mobile devices, tablets and desktop, the information can be accessed easily by families of the patient, and revisited if they are still unsure about an aspect of their baby’s care. 

In neonatal care, the procedures that take place are very specific, with highly specialised language used to explain them. To make sure the content in the CardMedic library is accurate and specific for the processes and procedures at the trust, they are working with CardMedic to co-create the content. The content is also being tested with families who have used the neonatal services in the past, to ensure it is easily understood. 

“A common procedure we undertake in the neonatal unit is a lumbar puncture. While it is a simple process, it can sound scary, and when communication barriers exist, it can be difficult to explain what it is or why we are doing it. Sometimes, it can take as long as 45 minutes to explain.   

“With CardMedic, we can easily explain using the pre-written scripts in the app, and then leave that information with the family to revisit or use as a point of reference while we go and take care of their baby. It provides much needed reassurance in a highly emotional, often stressful situation.” 

Consultant Neonatologist at the trust 

The result
By addressing these communication barriers, the trust is ensuring that all families are being catered for equally, irrespective of the language they speak.  
In the neonatal unit at the trust, the most widely spoken languages after English are Spanish, Arabic, Turkish, Somali, Romanian, French, Portuguese, Russian, Italian, and Polish; all of which are included within the 40+ languages available via CardMedic. As CardMedic works with healthcare organisations to co-create content, new languages can be added to the app and the library is always expanding, so more and more families will be able to communicate effectively with their care team.
This is helping to improve the confidence that new parents have in the neonatal service, providing them with a better experience overall. It is also reducing the number of complaints about the service from families.  
Inspiring others

Next, the solution will be rolled out to maternity services at the trust. The scripts that have been co-created by the neonatal team will also be shared with other organisations looking to use CardMedic in their neonatal units. 

See the impact of CardMedic in action