There are 3 level of neonatal care within the NHS.
- Special Care Units (previously known as Level 1 units) are for babies who need continuous monitoring of their breathing or heart rate, additional oxygen, tube feeding, phototherapy and convalescence from other care.
- Local Neonatal Units (previously known as Level 2 units) are for babies needing short-term intensive care who require non invasive respiratory support.
- Neonatal Intensive Care Units (previously known as Level 3 units) are for babies needing respiratory support (ventilation) weighing less than 1,000g.
We are a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that provides all levels of medical care for the local population. Babies requiring surgery are transferred to other speciality centres using a dedicated neonatal transfer team.
We have 4 nurseries on our unit:
- Room 1 - 8 intensive care cots.
- Room 1A - 4 intensive care / high dependency cots
- Room 2 - 6 special care cots
- Room 3 - 10 high dependency / special care cots
We also have a transitional care unit with 8 cots situated on the Joan Booker Postnatal ward.
Intensive Care (IC) and High Dependency (HD)
In our intensive care and high dependency rooms we care for babies who are very small or premature and also term babies who are unwell and need close observation.
Most of the babies in IC will be looked after in an incubator often attached to a monitor. This is so that we can observe your baby closely whilst keeping him or her warm without disturbing them too much. Your baby's nurse can explain more about what these do and how we use them.
Usually there will be one nurse caring for 2 babies. However sometimes a baby may require 1-1 nursing.
The doctors will see your baby regularly and will be happy to talk to you about your baby's progress. Our experienced nurses will inform you about your baby's care and progress.
We try to keep the nurseries as quiet as possible, and the incubators and the covers help reduce excessive noise and light. During the day we have quiet time 12.30 - 14.30hrs where we close the blinds and dim the lights. The lights are also dimmed at night to help your baby rest.
Special Care (SC)
Being classed as special care (SC) indicates that your baby still requires care in hospital. In SC we have nurses and nursery nurses who are experienced in supporting parents in becoming confident carers for their baby. The nurses will demonstrate how you can do various things, from changing nappies to giving feeds.
The nurses may be looking after 4 SC babies at a time. During their stay you will still have the opportunity to meet with your baby's doctors on a regular basis.
Transitional Care Unit (TCU)
The transitional care unit (TCU) is situated on the Joan Booker Ward. Babies may be admitted straight to TCU, or transferred from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) when they no longer require close observation. TCU has some facilities for you to stay in hospital alongside your baby so that you can establish feeding and really get to know your baby well before going home.
TCU is supervised by nurses and nursery nurses from the neonatal unit and you will still have the opportunity to meet with the doctors on a daily basis.