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Monitors help ‘sleeping’ babies

More families are able to take their premature babies home thanks to the generous donation of two new monitors to Scunthorpe hospital.

The apnoea monitors, which cost more than £1,600, have been donated to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) by the charity Ickle Pickles. 

Sarah Judd, unit manager, said: “Apnoea is a common problem in preemies. Essentially what happens is that there is a pause in their breathing which can last at least 20 seconds. During this time the baby’s heart rate can go down (bradycardia) and their oxygen levels may drop.”

Babies with apnoea are hooked up to monitors with alarms that go off alerting staff.  

Sarah said: “As the baby grows, the apnoea improves until it eventually goes away. Sometimes though a baby is ready to go home before it has cleared up, so these monitors allow families to take their babies home as they can keep monitoring them.”

Ickle Pickle North Lincolnshire ambassador Jenny Musgrave and charity founder Rachael Marsh called on local dance group the Hot Stompers to help raise money for the monitors.

Jenny said: “We are a national charity which provides equipment for neonatal units across the country. My twin boys were patients on the Scunthorpe unit when they were born eight years ago so I know first-hand what a fantastic job they do.

“These monitors will allow more families to take their babies home and will provide them with a boost of confidence, as it can be quite scary and daunting when you are no longer in a hospital environment.”

The monitor has a belt that goes around the child’s chest to measure how it is breathing, and a set of leads attach to the chest to detect and monitor the heartbeat. Just like when they are in NICU, an alarm sounds if there is a long pause in breathing or the heart rate goes down.

Sarah added: “The sound of the alarm is sometimes enough for the baby to restart breathing on their own. However it is sometimes necessary to help stimulate the baby to breath by rubbing their feet or their back, or picking them up and rubbing their back. That is usually enough for them to take a breath.

“I want to say a big thank you to Ickle Pickles as we will be able to allow more families go home thanks to the addition of these two new apnoea monitors.”

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