NICU and Special Care Nursery

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and the Special Care Nursery (SCN) provide care for babies who need extra attention after birth.

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and the Special Care Nursery (SCN) provide care for babies who need extra attention after birth.

Some reasons for staying in the NICU or SCU can include preterm birth, low birth weight, breathing difficulty, low blood sugar level, infection, birth trauma and some congenital abnormalities.

A specially trained team attend all high-risk births that anticipate difficulties or complications with the baby. Members of the NICU team may also meet with you to discuss what to expect after your baby is born.

We deliver our health services to babies and their families in an environment that is:

  • developmentally appropriate
  • family centred
  • functional, safe and comfortable
  • technologically up to date and able to meet future needs

Your time on the NICU ward

We understand that your baby’s stay on the ward can be an anxious and stressful time for you and your family. To ensure the safety of your baby and others at the NICU and SCN, we ask that you please follow the information and advice below.

  • Hand washing up to the elbows and jewellery off is the most effective precaution you can take to prevent infection while caring for your baby.
  • Please ask visitors to text or ring you on arrival so you can let them in with your Access Card and accompany them into the unit.
  • Please limit visitors at the bedside to a parent and 2 other people. There is a maximum of 3 people at bedside at any one time.
  • Children under 12 years other than your own are not allowed in the unit.
  • Please prevent anyone with an infection from visiting.
  • 1pm to 3pm is a ‘baby rest time’ that allows them to have a deep and undisturbed sleep. Parents only are allowed during this time.
Access to the NICU

We allocate one Access Card to you and your family while your baby is in the unit. The card allows 24-hour access to the unit and should only be used by parents.

Before discharge, please return your Access Card in the supplied envelope to the ward clerk or your baby’s nurse.

Security doors

The security doors are locked 24 hours a day. This ensure the safety of all babies, staff and visitors.

Please ask anyone who visits between 6am and 9pm to text or call you when they arrive so you can let them in with your Access Card. This prevents the doorbell from ringing and keeps the unit a quiet place for all babies.

Visitor guidelines

To ensure the safety of all babies and the effective operation of the NICU and SCN, we ask you to ensure your visitors follow the requirements below.

  • General visitors are welcome between 6am and 9pm.
  • All visitors must always be accompanied by at least 1 parent unless prior permission has been given by the parents, and staff is notified.
  • No more than 3 people, including at least 1 parent, can be bedside at any one time.
  •  You may only bring in additional visitors in exceptional circumstances—please discuss this with your nurse beforehand.
  • We can only give information to each baby’s parents.
  • Visitors may be asked to limit the length of their visit due to baby and staff needs. Families can use the lounge and other spaces for long visits and larger groups.
  • Children under the age of 12 years other than your own are not allowed on the unit.
  • Children under 12 must have adult supervision at all times.
If you are unwell

We ask that anyone with a cold or other illness does not visit the unit until they are well. This ensures the protection of all babies we care for.

Handwashing is one of the most important precautions you can take to prevent infection when caring for your baby. Please ensure you always wash your hands before you enter the unit.

We also ask that you complete a 1-minute fingertip-to-elbow scrub before you first enter your baby’s room. To do this, please roll up your sleeves and remove any watches, bracelets and rings. Ensure you clean your forearms up to the elbows and dry thoroughly. You should also use alcohol rub after touching any surfaces.

Cold Sores

If you have a cold sore, please inform the medical or nursing staff caring for your baby. It may be necessary to take extra precautions to prevent cross infection.

Breastfeeding in the NICU

For further information please see the Breastfeeding in the NICU page.

Page last updated on: 27 Sep 2018