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This content is taken from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine's online course, Retinopathy of Prematurity: Practical Approaches to Prevent Blindness. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds Hello and welcome to week 2. This week we examine the clinical activities that the neonatal team carries out to reduce the risk of retinopathy of prematurity in preterm babies. We follow the chronological process and highlight the key issues

Skip to 0 minutes and 29 seconds before, during and after the birth of a preterm baby: Can premature birth be prevented? If premature birth happens, what immediate care needs to be put in place during the golden hour after birth? How can the baby be safely transported to an appropriate care centre? Once in a neonatal unit, how does the team reduce the risk of complications, including ROP? What is the role of the neonatal nurses in preventing ROP? And lastly, how can the neonatal team involve parents in the care of their baby? At each stage we draw your attention to the vital importance of effective communication with parents, encouraging them to take part in the care of their baby.

Skip to 1 minute and 23 seconds And throughout we keep the focus on providing high quality care to the premature baby as this is central to reducing the risk of ROP. As in the previous week, please do keep sharing your reflections in the comments section of each step. It’s great to hear from you, and it enhances the learning for everyone.

Welcome to Week 2

Having a preterm baby can be a very challenging time for parents and other carers, particularly if the child is being cared for in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This can seem a very alien environment and the baby may have episodes of serious illness when their life is at risk. Parents can feel fearful, helpless and a mere bystander in the care of their baby. They can feel torn between spending time with their newborn and their other responsibilities at home or at work. This is a complex and highly traumatic time for parents.

Neonatal teams caring for preterm babies need heightened sensitivity and enhanced skills to provide clinical care for the baby, and support parents to overcome their fears and spend time to bond with their baby. In amongst this complex picture, the quality of clinical care must always be of the highest standard because this can help to reduce the risk of developing ROP.

Nurses have an important role in neonatal teams. They provide continuous care for babies, communicate with parents, and provide them with support and help to develop the skills and techniques required to safely care for their child and begin to learn about their immediate and longer-term medical needs.

As you go through this week, we draw your attention to the importance of team work in the neonatal unit, the urgency of the care procedures for preterm babies and the communication that teams need to maintain between themselves and with parents along the way.

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This video is from the free online course:

Retinopathy of Prematurity: Practical Approaches to Prevent Blindness

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine