Argus babies

Photo (courtesy of The Argus): Paul and Natalie Jones with daughters Emily and Olivia

The parents of a baby patient “cannot thank staff enough” for giving them the perfect Christmas present.

Natalie and Paul Jones were able to take their daughter Olivia home for the first time on Christmas Eve after she spent six weeks in the Trevor Mann Baby Unit.

Olivia was born at PRH but was transferred to the County after developing breathing problems.

It was a very stressful period for her parents, who had to juggle being there for Olivia as well as looking after their other daughter, four-year-old Emily.

Paul said: “The care and treatment Olivia got from the staff has been brilliant. We cannot thank them enough for everything they have done for us – it was the best possible Christmas present.”

Natalie said: “She was quite poorly and it was very stressful and worrying but she gradually started to improve. We didn’t know if she would be well enough (to go home for Christmas) and we didn’t want to get our hopes up but thankfully it has all worked out.”

New mum Donna Laughlin has also praised staff for helping her celebrate Christmas Day at home with her new baby. Donna’s seven-week-old daughter Cleo was admitted to the HDU at the Alex with bronchiolitis but was well enough to return home for the big day.

Donna said: “The staff have been brilliant but it is good to be able to get Cleo home.”

For parents and young patients who did have to stay in hospital over Christmas, extra efforts were made by staff to ensure the day was special.

There was a visit from Father Christmas, presents were donated by Rockinghorse and the Early Birth Association and 30 hampers with food for a Christmas meal were given to parents and families of patients. The hampers were donated by Aidan’s Project, which was set up by the parents of a young patient who sadly died of a rare genetic condition. The fund works alongside Rockinghorse to organise and provide the hampers.

Sister Helene Smith, Sister on HDU, has worked on Christmas day for 30 years and said: “Obviously nobody wants to be in hospital and so we work to make sure only the ones who really have to stay in are here. This is a high dependency unit and so the children still need constant care but we have Christmas music playing and films and DVDs. We try to keep things relaxed and informal so people can enjoy the day, despite having to be here. The hampers are a great way for families to be together and have a meal.”