Keep Me Close is a fundraising appeal under the umbrella of Plymouth Hospitals Charity (reg no. 1048679). Funds that are raised for Keep Me Close are used to support the provision and development of parental accommodation for those parents of babies who are being cared for on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital Plymouth cares for babies born from around the Devon and Cornwall peninsula who have either been born prematurely or with other life threatening illnesses. As the ward has the highest level of expertise and equipment, the ward cares for babies from all over the South West and babies are often transferred in from other hospitals for a higher level of care when needed. It is the only ward of its type this side of Bristol. In 2014 alone, the ward cared for 1209 babies and their families.
The Keep Me Close appeal is aimed at providing parental accommodation for the parents of babies we care for on the ward. Because of the nature of the babies we care for, parents are encouraged to remain close by to promote bonding, maternal and paternal mental health as well as getting involved in their baby’s care which is in itself intrinsic to the development of their child. The time a baby is on the ward, we house as many parents as possible in our on-site accommodation based on the unit. This is generally reserved for those parents who are displaced away from their home hospital and currently we are only able to house four sets of parents. With the extreme preterm infants who can expect a stay in hospital for over 100 days, this is an extremely expensive and long time to be away from your home and immediate family.
It has long been the dream of the hospital staff to provide better accommodation for the parents of the babies they care for and to provide a greater number of rooms to enable all “out of area” parents to remain on site for the duration of their baby’s care. These parents are dealing with an incredibly stressful time and creating a "home from home" would really help to take away a small amount of this stress by enabling life to remain as normal as possible under the circumstances.
Given the number of babies that the ward cares for, it is likely that the staff on the ward will continue to affect the lives of well over 1,000 babies a year from in and around the South West. We are extremely passionate about trying to raise as much money as we possibly can for this incredible cause. This time in the parents’ lives will have an impact that they will not forget. The support we have from parents of babies who have been treated on the ward is incredible and any financial support we can obtain along the way will help make the experience that little bit easier.
With your help we can make a difference to the lives of over 1,000 families every year.
You can read more about the Keep Me Close Appeal and make a donation on our charity page.
You can follow the appeal on the Keep Me Close Appeal justgiving. You can also join our Facebook group here.