Our specialist team consists of consultant neonatologists, registrars, senior house officers, advanced neonatal nurse practitioners, nurse manager, community sisters, bereavement counsellor, specialist trainees, research nurses, neonatal nurses, assistant nurse practitioners, health care assistants, auxiliaries, ward clerks and domestics.
You may also see medical students, student nurses and midwives who are on placements as part of their training. Other services can be accessed if required. These include physio, dietitians, speech and language therapy and pharmacy.
Advanced neonatal nurse practitioners
Our community team can offer support at home to a range of premature and newborn infants and their families. This is a seven day service.
Babies receiving this service may also have open access to the children’s assessment unit, this ensure that families have support out of hours if their baby becomes unwell. This service may be offered to you nearer the time of discharge.
Speech and language therapists
When babies learn to suck, feed and swallow they use the same muscles and nerves that they will eventually use for speech and talking.
Some speech and language therapists therefore specialise in working with babies and children to assess and develop feeding skills.
They can help you to understand the skills your baby needs to learn to feed. They can show you how to support your premature baby’s developing skills, so that you feel confident in feeding your baby and that both you and your baby can work together to make feeding an enjoyable bonding experience.
A neonatal physiotherapist is a specialist in assessing and supporting babies on the neonatal unit who may be at risk of having a movement, breathing or developmental difficulty.
We may see your baby if they:
- Are born very early
- Have had a difficult birth
- Have a low birth weight
- Have problems/conditions with their position, joints or muscles or movement
- Have specific difficulties with breathing
- Are at risk for many reasons of needing some support with their development
The physiotherapist will watch your baby moving and behaving to decide what support your baby needs.
We may just watch your baby, or we may move them into different positions (on their side, tummy, in your arms) and feel them. We also look at how they can sooth themselves and how ready they are to look, listen, play. It will depend on how your baby is on that day.
We will always ensure your baby is settled and comfy.
We may give advice on:
- Positions to use
- How to handle and move your baby
- Equipment to support your baby’s position
- How to prevent your baby from being affected by the environment (it is very different to being inside you)
- Watching your baby and understanding what they are telling us with their movements/faces
- Helping you to bond with your baby
- How to hold /carry your baby
- Developmental care. Interacting with their environment
We may video your baby so we can look at their movements in more detail – this will always be with your consent.
We work with you and the whole team to give the best developmental care for your baby.
Once we have met and assessed your baby we will decide if they would benefit from being followed up once they are discharged. This is so we can continue to support their development once you are at home.
Neonatal dietitians are skilled at assessing, diagnosing and managing the nutritional needs of neonates. They understand and interpret current clinical evidence and guidelines for neonatal parenteral and enteral feeding and are able to apply strategies to both individualised and standardised practice in order to meet the complex nutritional needs of preterm infants.
As a member of the neonatal team a dietitian can have a significant impact on the care of sick and premature infants, providing consistent nutritional care to each infant and designing specialised nutrition practice protocols and monitoring tools.
By enhancing clinical effectiveness and avoiding clinical complications the dietetic role can lead to a reduced length of hospital stay and help with improvements in quality of care.
Dietitians also play a key role in the wider MDT, supporting the team to make clinically effective feeding decisions, particularly in regard to the management of feed choices, feeding methods, and the nutritional management of infants with gastro/surgical conditions.
NICU has three main areas of care: intensive care, high dependency, and special care. Babies are moved between these rooms, as they require different levels of care.
We will always try to inform you before you visit if any move so as not to alarm you, but sometimes circumstances prevent this.
When your baby moves out of intensive care we ask that you provide them with nappies and baby wipes, the nurse caring for your baby will help you choose the right size.
Babies on admission as well as babies who are very poorly are cared for in intensive care. They require close observation and monitoring and may require help with breathing and other support.
Babies in high dependency may be attached to fewer monitors although still require help and support even though they are progressing well.
Babies are moved into special care when they are progressing well. In these rooms they still need more care and observation than they would be given on the postnatal ward or at home. In these rooms babies are progressing towards being discharged.