Alice Jeavons, Team Leader and Lead Specialist Midwife for Young Parents, works in the Lighthouse team. Here Alice tells us more about her team and the work they do.
“The Lighthouse team is a continuity of carer midwifery team,” says Alice. “We specialise in providing enhanced care to pregnant young people across our trust. Each young pregnant person is allocated a named midwife from the team, has an increased schedule of appointments, longer appointments and a flexible location for their care – for example some may prefer that we visit them at home.”
The team was created in 2019 after the Better Births Maternity Review recommended this model of care.
“My job is to oversee the midwives in the team and coordinate the care of young parents receiving care in our maternity services,” continues Alice. “In labour our young people are cared for by a member of the Lighthouse team. If possible this is their named midwife – we have a 24/7 on call system provided by the team midwives.
“In the postnatal period each family is seen for midwifery checks at home for an extended period of 28 days as many times as their individual circumstances require. Regular midwifery care delivers approximately three to four visits in 10 days.
“The best part of being part of this team is being able to provide holistic care to families, including emotional support, support with safeguarding issues, even support with housing and financial difficulties. The midwives in the team are dedicated to empowering young parents to become independent and confident parents. Due to the trusting relationships our midwives are able to foster, this model of care has resulted in better outcomes for women and babies, reflected in our data over the past three years.”
Midwives from the Lighthouse team are also used to support the acute maternity service when staffing is challenged there.
“Supporting the acute maternity service does mean that our team regularly work overtime, which can result in time management and staff wellbeing issues,” says Alice. “Our team are very supportive of one another and have the ability to work flexibly and maintain good work/life balance. This is reflected in job satisfaction and low rates of sickness among the Lighthouse team.”
The team are expanding their offering with the addition of midwives with specific skillsets.
“We currently have a team midwife able to provide tongue tie assessment and division for Lighthouse team babies if needed,” says Alice. “They can also perform newborn examinations, which would usually require an extra hospital appointment, thus extending the continuity of carer ethos beyond normal midwifery care.
“Several of our team have also undertaken specialist training to enable them to supply and administer long-acting reversable contraception before women are discharged form our care. And each of our midwives can provide vaccinations.”
The midwives also support antenatal classes for the families, provided by the antenatal education team.
“We have just started ‘meet the team’ events encouraging families to attend and become familiar with the other midwives who may look after them while they are giving birth,” Alice says. “Families who have already used our service are also invited to these, to meet other new parents, share their experiences and to show off their babies to us!”