Here at Hearts Together we will be teaming up with the Keep Me Close Appeals Team (KMC) to provide families caring for babies who have either been born prematurely or with other life-threatening illnesses, within the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust (UHP), with home-from-home accommodation.

We will be providing exclusively several of our self-catering en-suit Kitchenette rooms at our Hearts Together Hospital Hotel to KMC. With these additional bedrooms secured under the new partnership, KMC will be able to continue to offer their neonatal families access to free bespoke accommodation that is close to their baby at UHP NICU.  

Hearts Together has been supporting patients, carers, relatives, and healthcare professionals alongside UHP for over 20 years, providing not only accommodation but also support services for guests dealing with complex situations. As with all guests supported at Hearts Together Hospital Hotel, the parents from KMC will have access to these additional support services, such as the wrap-around counselling service, access to a fully equipped communal kitchen, washing facilities, complimentary breakfast and frozen meals, well-maintained communal areas and garden, and the Hearts Together shuttle vehicle for lifts to and from Derriford Hospital.

A little bit about Keep Me Close and the NICU at Derriford:

The Keep Me Close fund is a fundraising appeal under the umbrella of Plymouth Hospitals Charity (Reg no 1048679).  The Keep Me Close appeal was launched in 2005 to support the provisions and development of parental accommodation for those with babies under the care of the NICU at Derriford Hospital (UHP).

The NICU unit at UHP is the regional centre of neonatal intensive care, providing the highest level of expertise and equipment for babies across the Devon and Cornwall Peninsula. Covering such a large area means that parents are often travelling miles to support their sick or premature babies, displaced from their homes and local support system. Often these babies have been transferred in from other hospitals for a higher level of care and end up having extended stays within the NICU. As a result, many families then find themselves having to travel quite some distance or pay substantial accommodation fees to be close to their babies for the length of their treatment.

The care of a premature or sick baby is all-encompassing, both emotionally and physically. Keeping a parent close to their baby at these times is absolutely vital for both the health and development of the baby and the families. By teaming up with KMC and working with NICU and UHP, we will play a part in helping to reduce many of the pressures faced by parents and families during these challenging times and hope that our Hearts Together Hospital Hotel will go some way in providing a sense of calm, a place of restfulness and much needed additional support.