The Royal Women’s Hospital – Phototherapy at Home (full video)

The Royal Women’s Hospital – Phototherapy at Home (full video)


– Congratulations,
and welcome to your new baby. It’s an exciting time, with plenty of fun and challenges ahead, including learning to feed and sleep, as well as learning to manage common
conditions, such as jaundice. Jaundice is very common in newborns, so it’s nothing to be too worried about. Most of the time, it
gets better by itself, and doesn’t need any treatment, but there are times when
babies need a bit of help. We’ll let you know if treatment
is needed for your baby. If it is, then the treatment for jaundice is pretty easy and straightforward. Essentially, jaundice is treated with what’s called phototherapy, and the good news is that you can stay at home with your baby
while having the treatment. – Hey, how are you going?
– Hi, I’m good, how are you? – Yeah, good, thanks, come in. Blanket be up higher, or? – [Narrator] You may have noticed that your baby’s skin and
the whites of their eyes are a bit yellow in the
days after they were born. That yellow colour is caused by a waste product in the
blood called bilirubin. Normally, our liver changes
bilirubin into waste that our body can easily get rid of when we go to the toilet. But a newborn baby’s liver can take a while to
get used to doing this. As a result, the bilirubin
builds up in baby’s blood, and it shows up as a
yellow tinge in the skin. – How are you?
– [Woman] Good, how are you? – I’m good, how’s Jack? – He’s really good, thank you. – [Narrator] A baby’s jaundice level can be easily checked
by the midwife or nurse. The best way to check to see if a baby needs treatment for jaundice is to measure the amount of
bilirubin in baby’s body. The first time we test for this is with a small handheld instrument that uses light to measure the
bilirubin level in the skin. It’s an instant and very
easy test, and is painless. If this test suggests a
high level of bilirubin, then we’ll need to take a blood sample. Using a very small needle, we take a few drops of blood from baby’s heel. This blood test is a more exact way to know if your baby needs treatment. Treatment is very easy and safe. It all happens using blue light from a special blanket
that you wrap your baby in. The treatment is called phototherapy. Photo means light, so
phototherapy is light therapy. The blue light shines through Baby’s skin. This changes the bilirubin into a form that baby can get rid of more easily. We like you and your baby to be home together as soon as you’re ready, but there are a few boxes to tick to make sure your baby can
have phototherapy at home. Here’s the list. Your baby must be close to full term, at least 48 hours old, and other than having jaundice, your baby must be medically well, and will be checked by the baby doctor to make sure they are suitable
for phototherapy at home. You’ll need to speak with a nurse from the Hospital in the Home team. And finally, you’ll need to have a feeding plan in place for your baby. We’ll talk with you about this. Here’s all the gear you need. Some of this you’ll be borrowing from us. And the rest, you’ll already have, like the cot and blankets. Some things you may need
to buy, like a thermometer. You can buy a thermometer
like this at most chemists. Start by placing the power box and the BiliSoft light
box on a firm surface. It needs to be close enough for the black cable to reach your baby’s cot. Slide the light pad right into the disposable BiliSoft pad cover. Make sure that the
light pad faces upwards. This is the side of the pad
that goes against the mattress, and this is the side of the pad that should lie along your baby’s back. The wrap-around closure tabs need to be at the back of the light panel. Plug the BiliSoft light pad
into the BiliSoft light box by gently pushing the black
cable into the connection. You will feel it click into place. Dress your baby in just their nappy, so that plenty of light can
get to Baby’s bare skin. Connect the power plug of
the biliblanket power source to the safety box. Plug the power adapter safety box into a power point on the
wall and switch it on. Switch on the biliblanket power source. The blue light should now be working. Place your baby on the light panel. Make sure your baby’s head
is above the light panel. Wrap the straps of the BiliSoft pad cover around your baby’s stomach and chest. They should be tight enough to hold the light panel in position comfortably. You can place other blankets over the top of or around your baby if needed. The power unit doesn’t run on batteries, so you need to have it plugged in to household power during treatment, and you need to be home for
the whole treatment time. For safe sleeping, remember to follow safe sleep guidelines, and always place your baby on their back, with their head uncovered
at the foot end of the cot. Phototherapy is very safe
and reasonably comfortable. It will not harm your
baby and is painless. Most babies settle quickly
after having the blanket fitted. The length of time your
baby will require treatment varies from baby to baby. A baby will usually need phototherapy for two to three days, but
sometimes they need longer. During this time, your baby will need a blood test every day, to accurately measure
their bilirubin levels. A nurse will visit you at home every day of the phototherapy treatment to do this test and check on your baby. She’ll also check and help with your baby’s feeding plan and
check your baby’s weight. As the blue light does its job, your baby’s bilirubin levels
will drop to a safe level. Your nurse will let you know when it’s time to stop the treatment. The use of the phototherapy blanket during treatment needs to be continuous. There are only three times
when you can interrupt it. Your drive home from hospital, Baby’s bath, which can
be for up to 30 minutes, and during nappy changes. For the rest of the time, you can care for your baby at home as normal. You can hold, feed, and settle your baby, all while they wear the
phototherapy blanket. Changes in your baby’s temperature can be one of the side effects of phototherapy. You should monitor your baby’s temperature by using a thermometer and taking the temperature before every feed. A normal temperature is between 36.5 and 37.2 degrees Celsius. If your baby’s temperature
is too low or too high, you can add or take off layers of blankets to help regulate Baby’s temperature. Other common side effects include slow feeding, loose bowel movements, and a mild skin rash. Your baby may need to be
readmitted to hospital if you notice these signs: if the bilirubin signs are increasing, if your baby is too sleepy to feed, if your baby’s feeding is poor, or if they’re losing weight, if there are not enough
wet or dirty nappies, if there is a combination
of all these signs, or if your baby seems unwell. Even though dealing with
jaundice can be stressful, it’s important to know that
this method of treatment is safe and proven. If all goes to plan, your
baby’s bilirubin levels will be dropping. If you have any questions or concerns, you can speak to your
nurse during a home visit, or contact your local treating hospital. You’ll be given their direct phone numbers during your first assessment.

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