Phototherapy tech helps premature babies with jaundice in Birmingham

Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust is using portable phototherapy blankets to aid recovery for premature babies with jaundice.

The blankets, known as ‘biliblankets’ or cocoons, are designed to keep babies warm and treat neonatal jaundice or hyperbilirubinemia.

The trust describe biliblankets as “a glow up blanket”; they shine full spectrum fiber-optic light at the baby’s body in order to generate heat, with eye guards used to protect the infants.

The light aims to reduce bilirubin levels after one to two days of usage. The blankets are portable, supporting parents use the blanket at home and potentially assist in reducing length of hospital stays and preventing readmission into hospital.

Nicola Speakman, part of the NICU Governance Team and Lead for ATAIN stated: “Our biliblankets and cocoons are a big part of our national Avoiding Term Admission In Neonatal Units (ATAIN) scheme, to keep our jaundiced babies on the road to recovery.

“We’re also looking at bringing our blankets outside of our clinical environments into our Transitional Care team like NATS, so that we can begin keeping our parents and babies at home to form those important bonds in their early infant development. Our phototherapy technology also makes it easier for new mums to breastfeed, meaning that they are allowed the same breastfeeding experiences as other parents. It’s all about keeping our families together.”

The trust’s use of the biliblankets has been funded by Women’s Hospital Charity.