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NICU staff being judgemental.
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NicuProblem · 06/02/2019 09:31

I'm in tears. Requested my baby's medical notes after a prem birth. Found a part where apparently they started a visiting log as they felt we didn't stay on the ward long enough, that I wasn't talkative enough and that my husband "rarely visited".

I don't drive and have an older child with disabilities. My husband works and at that time was working night shifts. They KNEW this.

I feel distraught by this notion that at my most vulnerable when I was trying my best I was judged as somehow not good enough.

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Loungewearfan · 06/02/2019 10:27

CrabbyPatty that is a lovely post and I agree. I was quite rightly told off by the ward sister (as a student) for judging a mum who wasn’t visiting as much as I deemed acceptable. I was a young, inexperienced student who didn’t have a clue about the stress of a child being in hospital or the financial impact it had on families.

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WallisFrizz · 06/02/2019 10:28

Saying that most people would be there all day every day is the kind of notion people have until they have actually been in that situation. Especially when there’s other children to look after and a job to hold down.

I didn’t spend all day every day in NICU even when I was still in hospital myself. I went down there several times a day for about an hour at a time but in all honesty, I had to sit down because I was so unwell myself, she was too ill to hold so basically I had a view of the underside of the incubator.

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CrabbyPatty · 06/02/2019 10:28

Sorry just read a few more posts. In this situation noticing and recording concerns is only half the job. What was clearly missing was a discussion with OP if they were worried. It's poor practice.

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NicuProblem · 06/02/2019 10:29

No I wasn't offered extra support

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spudlet7 · 06/02/2019 10:30

I feel OP's DH is getting a rather hard time here. He was working long shifts, giving him limited time to visit. During that time, he doesn't just have to fit in the visit itself but transport to and from the hospital too, as neither he or the OP drive. Factor in his anxiety mentioned by OP too. Plus, I would imagine that when your child is in the NICU, life probably feels rather bleak and terrifying. These feelings can paralyse people and make an already stressful hospital trip into something seemingly insurmountable.

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QueenofmyPrinces · 06/02/2019 10:31

I work on an infants ward where we look after children aged 0-2years.

We relatively frequently keep contact records where we document who visits, what day they come, how long they stay and how do the interact with the infant/child. We also keep a record of how often the parents call.

We only do this in cases where we feel that the parents aren’t coping or whether they are just disinterested in their child which unfortunately does happen.

Don’t take it personally, nothing of huge concern came from it, and it’s just something that staff are required to do.

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User12879923378 · 06/02/2019 10:33

Would they have logged it as a concern if he was in finance and working abroad, I wonder

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han01uk · 06/02/2019 10:34

Hi NICU nurse here. What you are destructing is actually quite common. Flags raised "for information only" regarding visiting,parental behaviour etc etc are there not for judgement but so that staff can give you more support. Especially as you approach going home,these notes will mean that staff can offer you perhaps travel costs,accommodation or just extra support with bonding etc. It's a shame you feel judged,as this is not what the notes are used for. Obviously I can only give you information on how my unit works,but safeguarding concerns are taken very seriously. If flags start as information only then they can be escalated quickly if for example binding isn't happening etc etc. More often than not these notes are just a precaution and enable staff to be clearly informed of any difficulties that parents are facing,rather than to judge them.

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PrivateCello · 06/02/2019 10:34

Thanks for confirming OP. So that makes all the points about the recording to make sure you get extra support moot. I urge you to make a complaint.

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CatkinToadflax · 06/02/2019 10:37

We were in two different NICUs for 17 weeks and it was standard policy in both units to note down when we were there. I really, honestly wouldn’t take it to heart.

Unfortunately medical notes do tend to have ridiculous comments put in them sometimes. I had emergency stitches put in at 22 weeks before DS arrived at 24 weeks. In my maternity notes following stitch insertion someone had written “patient v upset”. What did they bloody expect when I’d just been told I was at high risk of losing my baby?! Angry But....it was factually correct. I think that as long as what’s written is factually accurate, do try to let it go. Flowers

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han01uk · 06/02/2019 10:38

Sorry about the typos!
Describing....
Bonding....
Clearly yesterday's 13 hr shift catching up with me!!

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Anotherdayanotherdollar · 06/02/2019 10:39

I'm a nicu nurse. The visiting record was possibly not so much a "visiting" record, but more a record of how you interacted with the baby while you were there.

As mentioned previously, mums of prem babies have much higher incidences of pnd and ptsd. Having other pressures on you e.g., another child with additional needs, financial worries and not much support would further increase the risk. Being very quiet/not chatty mat have been perceived as you being withdrawn?
If after 10 weeks and your baby was stable that you were still phoning 2 hourly and wanting to speak to the consultant 3 times per week your anxiety levels and coping ability may also be flagged. When the baby is just sleeping phoning 2 hourly is pretty excessive!

You mention that your husband was very anxious also. I'm sure he was reassured by staff and by you that he wouldn't hurt her? If that is the case and he was still unable to rationalize that (e.g., why would he feel he might hurt her if nobody else did), that might also have been flagged.

I'm sorry that you have been hurt by this. You have done a fabulous getting your baby this far. It is a very stressful event and sometimes smaller issues like this can seem huge and upsetting. I hope you have some support irl and that you feel that you are coping well. If not please try and get some help. You have given so much to your family, remember to look after yourself too Flowers

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Pigpogtastic · 06/02/2019 10:40

Most parents would be there all day everyday

My friend's baby was in hospital for 4 months. All day every day just isn't possible when you have a baby who is staying in longer than a week or two. Life doesn't stop. Maternity and paternity leave aren't extended. Bills still have to be paid.

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Loungewearfan · 06/02/2019 10:41

But she clearly said that she wasn’t offered extra support...

Those of us posting here who are nurses/medics mustn’t minimise how our actions can affect patients. We need to constantly review and accept that sometimes we don’t handle things as well as we think.

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GemmeFatale · 06/02/2019 10:41

OP you’ve said your husband came in to visit baby once a week, didn’t want to do basic care tasks like dressing your baby and was/is highly anxious. Can you really not see why all together those factors would be concerning for staff?

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Schuyler · 06/02/2019 10:41

I understand why you feel hurt. You had a difficult set of circumstances to manage and you did your best. You were pulled in every direction. I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been. Flowers I understand the NICU were concerned about bonding, so I see their side but not every family has flexibility and they need to make sure they recognise that.

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NicuProblem · 06/02/2019 10:42

Would they have logged it as a concern if he was in finance and working abroad, I wonder

I feel like this too. DH and I are relatively young and he recently graduated university hence the temporary job and I feel we were judged based on our age too.

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DishingOutDone · 06/02/2019 10:43

To the NICU nurses here who are posting; can you not see how contradictory your posts are? You're saying oh we do it in case parents need support - the OP was offered nothing. Oh we do it in case parents are disinterested. Oh but if parents are ringing every two hours then they are over-anxious.

I don't think any of you have offered any reassurance to the OP. If there were these concerns then why wasn't the OP offered some support?!

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NicuProblem · 06/02/2019 10:44

Gemme he rang daily. Regularly chatted with the consultants. Both him and I were asked by several consultants whether we were medical students as the level of knowledge and interest we were taking was above what they normally see. He cuddled DD regularly. So no I don't see what's concerning about a man working long hours who doesn't drive feeling uncomfortable dressing a 3lb baby.

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DishingOutDone · 06/02/2019 10:45

Can you really not see why all together those factors would be concerning for staff? - yeah they were so concerned they didn't discuss it with the OP or offer her any advice or support.

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Scifi101 · 06/02/2019 10:45

@ILoveMaxiBondi

Waiters might not work through the night but they might work through hospital visiting hours.

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NicuProblem · 06/02/2019 10:46

They also knew about my birth which I don't want to talk about here but it involved a lot of complications and there was as very real risk at least one of us wouldn't survive it. The most support I had was a few nurses commented "be careful you don't get PND from this." That's it.

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ILoveMaxiBondi · 06/02/2019 10:48

Waiters might not work through the night but they might work through hospital visiting hours.

Yes but finishing at 1am leaves him the rest of the night to sleep and then up to the hospital in the morning before starting work at 12 or 3.

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Skimmedmilk1 · 06/02/2019 10:49

So am I right that they gathered this information but did nothing with it? they didn't refer you to social services or raise a safeguarding alert.

OP, I wouldn't take this further and I mean this nicely. They entirely appropriately noticed something of concern, kept an eye on it and then realised that it wasn't an issue so didn't take it further. That is their job - staff are hung out to dry when they don't spot a safeguarding issue. They didn't do anything wrong and it isn't personal.

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han01uk · 06/02/2019 10:49

Scifi- parents can visit their child anytime of the day or night on NICU.... not adhere to visiting times.

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