Rebuilding after the earthquake – The power of parental involvement in Turkey


Guest article by İlknur Okay, President of El Bebek Gül Bebek, Turkey After the devastating earthquake took place in 11 cities in South Eastern Turkey on 6 February 2023, many buildings collapsed or were damaged, including the public hospitals. As the national Turkish parent organisation, El Bebek Gül Bebek, we did our best to support both NICUs and parents. As of now, life is slowly getting back to routine in those cities, but of course the damage is enormous, both physically and psychologically. With the collaboration of a leading bedding company, Yatas, we repaired and completely renovated two rooms in Kahramanmaras and Malatya on 8-9 June 2023. These are two cities which were affected the most by the earthquake. The rooms were severely damaged and thus out of service, although the main structure of the hospitals was checked and declared safe and intact.   © İlknur Okay   Both rooms will serve as mother-baby bonding rooms right before discharge from the NICU. The room in Kahramanmaras will serve for those whose babies are still in the NICU and who cannot travel from home to hospital, enabling these parents to stay together with their baby at the hospital. The hospital managements, doctors, parents, and everyone involved were so happy and emotional, so we all burst into tears of loss and happiness. Renovating and then opening these rooms was a special moment for us. Given the success of the project, we have agreed with our sponsor to repair and renovate another room in the city Adiyaman. This is the current situation in Adiyaman:   © İlknur Okay © İlknur Okay   We, as El Bebek Gül Bebek, deeply believe in zero separation and putting all our efforts into enabling mothers to be with their babies under even the most difficult situations.

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Second digital implementation workshop: Exchange of Italian and Portuguese partners


This June, the second digital implementation workshop of the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (ESCNH) took place with two of our best practice countries Italy and Portugal, which have made outstanding efforts to implement the ESCNH in their country. The aim of the workshop was to continue the success of the first implementation workshop by providing an international and interdisciplinary platform, creating a space to exchange progress and learn from each other to ultimately strengthen national implementation strategies in neonatal care. Both countries were represented by their national neonatology associations, NIDCAP representatives, nurse associations as well as national parent organisations. In total, 23 individuals including three representatives from EFCNI took part in the interdisciplinary workshop.   Content of the workshop After a warm welcome by Silke Mader (EFCNI), country representatives were invited to provide an update regarding the implementation progress of the ESCNH. In representation of the Italian implementation Task Force of the ESCNH, Dr Gina Ancora, Natascia Simeone (SIN, NIDCAP Rimini), Dr Roberta Arena (SIN) and Natascia Bertoncelli (NIDCAP Modena) shared their past and upcoming implementation activities including the development of an implementation study in 12 pilot hospitals. The Portuguese progress was presented by Estela Coutinho and Paula Guerra (XXS), Lídia Videira (APEPEN) and Dr Gabriela Mimoso (SPN). A group discussion offered an opportunity to ask questions and reflect on challenges regarding the national implementation progress. Next, Dr María Maestro López, neonatologist and invited guest speaker, presented the best practice example from the University Hospital October 12 in Madrid. She introduced findings from a national survey and highlighted how the ESCNH are integrated in their hospital work and training courses. Last, Isabel Geiger, coordinator of the ESCNH, provided an update regarding the revision process of the ESCNH and shared details regarding the upcoming implementation activities. Thanks to all parties involved, and the lively discussions, the second implementation workshop was as a great success. We warmly thank all participants for their active participation and for their great efforts to implement the ESCNH in their countries – we are already looking forward to our follow-up meeting next year.

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The role of simulation training in neonatal care


Providing the best care to critically ill infants, whether they are born preterm or at term, is a daily challenge for medical teams, no matter how experienced they already are. Unforeseen complications or sudden developments can arise quickly and may require rapid action. In these instances, the entire care team may need to provide a coordinated response to ensure that the tiny patient continues to survive and thrive. These are often extremely complex and time-sensitive situations, and the better trained the team handling the patient is, the higher the chances of good outcomes are. Yet, in the daily hospital settings, doctors and nurses, particularly those at the beginning of their careers, have only few opportunities to actually practice how to handle crisis situations.   Interdisciplinary simulation training is quickly proving to be an answer to this problem. The approach describes the practicing of critical care situations and medical emergencies with the help of a highly realistic patient simulators and “real” hospital equipment. It assumes that a highly realistic training setting encourages participants to deeply engage with the practice matter, better retain what they learned, and ultimately apply their new skills with confidence in real-life situations.   What is more, in these simulation trainings, the entire care team trains together and practices measurements and procedures with one another in a safe setting, thus also strengthening team spirit, cohesion, and efficiency. When it comes to maternal and newborn care, this multidisciplinary approach brings together the care and medical staff from obstetrics, gynecology, neonatology, and pediatrics as well as midwives and anesthetists. Over time, simulation training has the potential to create specialist teams which perform care procedures together to successfully treat patients in high-risk situations.   Dr. Jens-Christian Schwindt, a neonatologist from Austria driven by his desire to improve the care for preterm and newborn infants, founded SIMCharacters in 2012. Together with a diverse team of experts, he has developed some of the most realistic infant simulators available. Paul, a patient simulator the size of a preterm infant born after the 27th week of gestation and weighing only 1,090 grams, has been available since 2021. In January this year, his “sister” Emily was unveiled, a term-born girl weighing 3,400 grams. Just like Paul, Emily has highly realistic internal and external anatomy, allowing healthcare professionals to train for crisis scenarios like resuscitation, respiratory distress syndrome or seizures. As this example shows, simulation training is one way to make neonatal care better and safer. Congratulations to Dr. Schwindt and his team!  

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