by Elizabeth Tenn-Stewart


Download this Qualiy Improvement Poster

Background & Problem

1:10 Babies born in Gloucestershire Royal Hospitals are admitted to the Neonatal Unit. Parents are often offered hurried information about the Unit while being prepared for delivery of their sick/premature baby. Frequently it is too late to have a discussion due to the situation. Parents partnering in care for their baby is important but the priority of the baby’s need for stabilization in the first 24 hours results in dads feeling fearful their concerns are insignificant.

Dads feeling lonely/lacking purpose make it difficult to cope/bond with their babies and families, leading to increased mental health issues and safeguarding concerns.


Improving Dads’ involvement in the Neonatal journey to promote immediate care-giving engagement.


  • Observational audit: shadowing dads from first contact with the Unit through first 24 hours postnatal.
  • Interviews/feedback from dads/staff.
  • Survey (SurveyMonkey) for baseline measurement.
  • PDSA cycles: developing informational leaflet for dads.
  • Teaching staff


  • Dads who benefitted from this implementation are now interested in supporting current dads. 31 questionnaires were completed with 100% response rate, showing eagerness to change the Unit.
  • Positive interactions from staff. Having prompts, staff are open to implement ways to involve dads.
  • 37% of dads reported having the opportunity to bond with their newborn in the first 24 hours of birth compared to the same percentage who felt unprepared for their admission.
  • Multi-disciplinary team involvement (e.g. Better Births).


The long-term success of S.H.E.D. depends on its continued passion. Ideally dads would support each other through this crucial time in their family life. We will continue to engage while being conscious that this is the first step in a bigger parent-involvement journey in the Unit with the best interests of the baby. With the knowledge and promotion of this group, other neonatal units globally have shown interest in support groups for dads.


Quality Improvement Presenter(s)
Elizabeth (Betty) Tenn-Stewart, Band 6 Neonatal Nurse / S.H.E.D. Founder / Liaison officer
Quality Improvement Team
S.H.E.D and H.O.P.E group members Neonatal Unit, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital
Rebecca Diaco ; Band 5 Neonatal Nurse, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital
Jovaughn Stewart; student at University of Gloucestershire
Karen Tomasino ; Neonatal Unit Manger
Sarah Brown; Volunteers’ Manager, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital
Elizabeth (Betty) Tenn-Stewart, Band 6 Neonatal Nurse / S.H.E.D. Founder / Liaison officer