Caring in our neonatal unit

Neonatal units specialise in looking after premature, very small or sick full term babies. In many hospitals, the unit is divided into three different levels of care. Your baby will be in the level that is most appropriate for his or her needs at that particular time.

(a) neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)

This provides the whole range of medical neonatal care, including specialist services, such as neonatal surgery.

(b) high dependency

This care often involves the continuation of some breathing support and intravenous nutrition, together with some other care needs that babies may have.

(c) special care baby units (SCBU)

This area is often referred to as ‘low dependency’. This may involve some tube-feeding or some additional oxygen support and light therapy (phototherapy).

For more detailed information on our neonatal unit please follow this link here.


Routine disinfection

All people entering neonatal units must wash their hands and forearms with a special disinfectant and, after drying, apply an anti-bacterial gel to reduce the chances of babies being infected by bacteria or infection from outside of the unit.

Quiet times

Many neonatal units have quiet times that give the babies time to rest. They are usually between midday and 2pm. The nurseries will have the lights dimmed and curtains drawn, and during this time care staff will try to disturb your baby as little as possible. Parents are usually welcome to visit at this time.

Doctor's round

The doctor's round is usually twice a day – in the morning and the evening. During the morning round, the staff will plan your baby's care. The evening round allows the daytime and night time staff to co-ordinate their care.

You may be asked to leave the unit when the ward round is happening, so that you don’t overhear them talking about other people’s babies.

finding out how your baby is doing

The nurse caring for your baby will be able to update you on their progress when you visit or telephone the unit. You can also ask to see the medical staff for an update on the condition of your baby. An appointment can always be arranged for you to see the Consultant at a time suitable to you. Doctors and nurses are normally around 24 hours a day. Remember, you can also ring the ward, day or night – someone on the unit will give you the telephone number.

change of staff and shift-patterns

The neonatal unit is staffed for 24 hours a day and care is given by nurses who will change throughout the day. The exact pattern varies from unit to unit.

* Copy courtesy of Bliss

Look after your baby

The staff will support you to be involved with your baby's care