FAMILIES who have a baby at the Isle of Wight neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at St Mary’s Hospital will be offered extra support.
The Island’s eight children’s centres have teamed up with the unit to offer an outreach service — Island Support for Families and Babies — providing advice and guidance.
Isle of Wight Council cabinet member for children’s services, Cllr Richard Priest, said: "Evidence shows families who have an infant admitted to the NICU can become vulnerable due to loss of normality and separation and are often unable to access services in the usual way.
"The service will offer bespoke support to families, including emotional support, preparation for bringing the baby home, advice and assistance in budgeting and seeking financial help, signposting to other relevant agencies and ongoing support once home."
Contact will be made with families when they are admitted to the NICU.
In the past two years, 478 babies have been admitted to the unit from 450 families, so the service will reach a large number of families.