Cocoon allows jaundice babies to be treated at home
A special cocoon which bathes babies with jaundice in special light is helping parents care for their new-borns at home.
The Bili-cocoon has been used for the first time in the county by Otis, who was born weighing 6lb 8oz a month early and spent a few days in the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at Hereford County Hospital.
Otis began showing signs of jaundice a few days after he was born and on the fourth day, when he was due to go home, it reached the point that he needed treatment for jaundice.
“It’s so worrying when you are told that your baby needs any medical treatment. He was very poorly and needed extensive medical interventions to help with his breathing,” said Otis’ mum, Emma Jones.
“We felt we had turned a corner and were planning on going home the morning he was diagnosed with jaundice. When they said we could have the treatment at home we were overjoyed. We have a young daughter at home and couldn’t wait to be back together as a family,” added Emma, who lives at Kingstone.
She said the Bili-cocoon Otis had was “super easy” to use at home.
“He was really cosy, exactly like a cocoon and looked like a little glow worm. He wasn’t in any distress at all. We were still able to have cuddles and continue breastfeeding while he was receiving his treatment too!”
Jaundice is easily treatable and has specific symptoms to look at for including yellowing of the skin and sleepiness. It is caused by a build-up of bilirubin in a baby’s blood. The phototherapy treatment helps the liver break down and remove the bilirubin.
Emma, who works as a nurse in SCBU, added: “Being on the other side as a parent of a sick baby was completely terrifying. The support they gave both to Otis and myself was so incredible. You can tell they truly care about each baby and family. We couldn’t have got through our stay without them.
“The neonatal outreach team is a great service and allowed us to get home, back together as a family as quick and safely as possible. The at home phototherapy service is going to be great at keeping other families together and out of hospital.”
Emma’s advice to new mums whose babies develop jaundice is to talk their nurse or midwife if they have any worries. “Don’t forget, you know your baby the best.”
Elaine Evans, SCBU ward manager and the neonatal outreach team, said: “The plan is for babies who develop jaundice in the first couple of weeks following birth to go home with phototherapy and be followed up by our community neonatal outreach team.
“The community midwives will refer babies who appear jaundice. The baby and mother will then come into our postnatal ward for screening and commence phototherapy.
“If, after six hours, the bilirubin levels are coming down, the baby will go home with the Bili-cocoon and the outreach team will go out the following day to repeat the bloods to see if the jaundice levels are continuing to come down below our treatment threshold”.