Keep Me Close Appeal

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Derriford Hospital cares for babies born from around the South West 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 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 campaign is aimed at providing new and improved parental accommodation for the parents of babies we care for on the ward. Because of the nature of the babies we care for, the parents of the babies are encouraged to remain close by as, sadly, the lives of their children hang in the balance and we always want to ensure they are close by if we need to obtain approval for some treatment or in the worst cases, so that they can be with their babies in their final moments. During the time a baby is on the ward, we house as many parents as possible in our on-site accommodation. This is generally reserved for those parents who did not live in Plymouth so that they did not have a long travel in case they had to be involved in their baby's treatment or discussions with the medical professionals. As you can imagine on an Intensive Care Unit, conditions can worsen very quickly. Currently we are only able to house four sets of parents.

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.

The Keep me Close campaign ( all dealt with under the general charitable umbrella of the Plymouth Hospitals General Charity with Registered Charity Number 1048679) is aiming to raise the £2 million it is going to cost to completely redevelop a new area of the hospital and provide the parents of the babies with that all important home from home with en-suite bedrooms giving the families the space and privacy that these times require, fully functioning kitchens to enable the parents to prepare nutritious meals assisting in the well being of the parents and washing machines to enable the parents to truly be able to survive away from home. We will also be able to provide family areas for the parents to be able to spend time with their families and, in particular, the other children of the parents. 

It is going to take many years to raise the total required but the quicker we can raise funds, the quicker we can make a difference and begin the process. 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 follow the Keep Me Close appeal on justgiving and twitter.

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