Neonatal Project: ATAIN

What is the project?

The purpose of ATAIN is to reduce the admission of full term babies to neonatal units. By reducing harm leading to avoidable admissions to neonatal units for babies born at or after 37 weeks.

It has been identified that over 20% of admissions of full term babies to neonatal units could be avoided. By providing services and staffing models that keep mother and baby together we can reduce the harm caused by separation.

We want all maternity and neonatal services to work together to identify babies whose admission to a neonatal unit could be avoided and to promote understanding of the importance of keeping mother and baby together when safe to do so.

There is overwhelming evidence that separation of mother and baby so soon after birth interrupts the normal bonding process, which can have a profound and lasting effect on maternal mental health, breastfeeding, long-term morbidity for mother and child.

This makes preventing separation, except for compelling medical reason, an essential practice in maternity services and an ethical responsibility for healthcare professionals.

What are the expected outcomes of the project?

Following a review of patient safety reports, neonatal hospital admission data and litigation claims data, we decided to focus on four areas of significant potential harm to babies. We believe these areas are where our work can have greatest impact:

  • respiratory conditions
  • hypoglycaemia
  • jaundice
  • asphyxia (perinatal hypoxia-ischaemia)

While the main focus of our work is avoiding harm that requires admission, we’re also interested in improving care for babies whose care could have been managed at home or in the community without admission.