When you first arrive in the Neonatal Unit it can be quite daunting. There is a lot of equipment, noises, alarms, lights and many staff. But our priority is you and your baby and we adopt a holistic approach, striving for family-based care involving parents in all aspects of care planning and care giving. The equipment is there to keep your baby warm, monitored, and to support breathing where necessary. The staff will discuss your baby’s needs, explain how the equipment is helping when you arrive and throughout your baby’s stay.
The Neonatal Unit has four nursery areas, and depending on how premature or unwell your baby is, they will be prioritised into one of these areas. During your baby’s stay they may be moved into a different nursery depending on their progress.
The intensive care nursery is often where premature and sick babies are initially admitted. There are three intensive care cots and your baby will be looked after by our very experienced nurses and doctors specially trained in delivering neonatal care. This area is always prepared and staff can quickly monitor and assess your baby’s needs.
We have two high dependency rooms with a total of eight cot spaces. Your baby will be admitted into high dependency if they are stable but still need close monitoring and still requiring respiratory support.
The isolation nursery is used for babies admitted from other hospitals. This is to ensure that there is no risk of cross infection to the resident babies. Babies will be swabbed on admission and when the swabs show no sign of infection, the babies will be transferred into another appropriate nursery.
The Special Care nursery has eight cots. Babies who do not require intensive care or high dependency will be allocated a special care cot. Babies in special care may be admitted for only a short time of observation and return to their mums on the post natal ward, or they may be long term babies who are progressing well and preparing for discharge home. There is a team of specially trained nursery nurses who assist parents with the preparation for discharge home.
All babies when they arrive on the Neonatal Unit will be assessed by the nursing and medical staff. This assessment will include their breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen level and temperature. There may be some other assessments/investigations taken, including blood tests and these will be fully explained to parents at the time.
Neonatal care in other hospitals
Sometimes, it may be necessary to transfer your baby to another Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or hospital for specialist care, which may only be available in that centre. This may be necessary because your baby is sick and requires more specialist care or that your baby has improved and can be transferred back to a unit nearer your home. Should this be required you will be involved and given information about the care your baby may require as well as directions and general information about the unit. This transfer will usually be carried out by a specialist Neonatal Transport Team who will accompany your baby in the ambulance. We aim to keep all babies within our South East Coast Network where possible.
Neonatal units at other hospitals