Bilirubinometers make a difference to midwives

The Bilirubinometers are used to test for jaundice in newborn babies.

In 2019, we funded a number of Bilirubinometers for the Community Midwife Team in Sussex.

The meters detect bilirubin levels in newborn babies and are being used by the team of 75 midwives. Between them, they look after over 6,000 mums and babies every year. They provide care through pregnancy, home visits and appointments at GP surgeries and paediatric centres across the county.

One of the most serious conditions that the community midwives look out for in newborns, is jaundice. If left untreated, it can cause long-term damage to a baby. Equipping community midwives with Bilirubinometers during home visits, means that new mums don’t need to go back into hospital. The test is simple, non-invasive and gives accurate results.

Community midwives and maternity support workers are now able to carry out bilirubin monitoring as part of their post-natal care. Only the babies tested positive for jaundice now need to be sent to hospital for further tests and treatment.

250 babies have been tested in just eight months using the new Bilirubinometers.

Keeping babies safe

Kelly Parker is the Community Midwifery Matron. She explains more: “So far, we’ve used the equipment to test approximately 250 babies’ bilirubin levels in just eight months. All of these babies would have previously had to go to hospital; be it A&E the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton, or Bolney Ward and the Special Care Baby Unit – both at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.

“From the 250 babies tested, only 15 of them needed to be sent into hospital for further investigation, treatment, or admission. This means that not only have we saved these new parents the hassle of a trip to hospital, but we’ve also taken the pressure off our colleagues in A&E.

“Just the difference this has made to families in terms of their time and energy, has been hugely positive. Previously, our community midwives would have had to have difficult conversations with new parents. This included an explanation that they would need to go back into hospital for a bilirubin test. All of the stress and hassle has been removed now that our midwives are able to test for jaundice out in the community.

“I am so grateful to Rockinghorse for funding our Bilirubinometers. I hope in the future that we can expand the service as much as possible, so that we can reach even more families. Thanks again for donating to the BSUH maternity services and helping us to keep these precious babies safe.”

To find out more about the projects we’re funding across Sussex, please click here.

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