3D virtual tours of 13 neonatal units launched across Kent, Surrey and Sussex

3D virtual tours of 13 neonatal units across Kent, Surrey and Sussex have been launched, with the aim of providing families with a way to virtually ‘walk around’, learning more about layout and equipment as well as gaining insight into the neonatal transport service including a tour of the neonatal ambulance.

Developed over the course of one year, the tours have been produced with the help of families, the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Parent Advisory Group, local neonatal staff, trust communication teams, Maternity and Neonatal Voices Partnership, Local Maternity and Neonatal Services and Kent, Surrey and Sussex Operational Delivery Network.

Users can choose to self-navigate or play the preconfigured version of the tour, with interactive information points available to help families learn more about the service, what is available, and tips on what to bring.

Jennifer Lomas, the neonatal manager for Kent Surrey and Sussex Operational Delivery Network, said: “Having a baby that is born sick or prematurely can be an extremely overwhelming experience for families. Listening to feedback from our parents, the network recognised the need for us to produce a resource that would help familiarise parents with the neonatal unit environment. We hope these insightful 3D virtual tours co-produced with our parents will help to alleviate some of the anxiety that parents have described around not knowing what to expect when their baby is admitted to a Neonatal Unit.”

Highlighting the impact on patients, Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust has shared insight from Louise Flanagan, who was involved in the patient advisory group. Louise commented that the virtual tours “would have made a huge difference” to her if they had been available when her son was transferred to a neonatal unit. “I had no idea what to expect… it would have resolved some of my anxiety, made me feel like I had a bit more control in what felt like a very out of control situation.”

To view the virtual tours, please click here.

On virtual walkthroughs, North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust has presented a virtual reality (VR) tour of its new facilities, which are being delivered through Project Chrysalis as the result of “the biggest single capital investment at Combined Healthcare since the creation of Harplands Hospital”.

In neonatal, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has published a contract notice for a neonatal intensive care cloud-based electronic patient record system that “will have the ability to adapt with the ever-changing technology advances in neonatal care”, helping to reduce manual work and paper usage.