The neonatal intensive care unit is the regional unit for the specialised care for premature and sick newborn babies. We are part of the Northern Neonatal Network.
We care for babies who have breathing or heart problems, require surgery or have other complex health needs.
Family centred care
Nursing and medical care is delivered by an enthusiastic and friendly team, which includes doctors, neonatal nurses and physiotherapists. All of our staff have the experience and expertise to ensure your newborn baby receives the very best care.
We actively encourage parents to spend as much time as possible with their baby. Parents are the most important caregivers for their baby. Our unit is committed in delivering integrated family centred care and supports parents through the whole journey, which is essential for baby’s growth and development.
Parents can be involved in their baby’s care as much as they wish. You can attend doctors’ review meetings where your baby’s care and treatment is discussed. You are also encouraged to carry out important tasks such as nappy changing.
If parents do not live locally in Newcastle, as part of the baby’s journey and as soon as baby is ready, they will be transferred back to a Special Care Baby Unit nearer to home.
The medical care of vulnerable newborns is led by consultants, supported by nursing teams on all three areas of the unit:
- intensive care – babies need the highest level of intervention and support
- high dependency – babies may still need higher level of support and close observation
- special care – babies are generally stable and progressing towards discharge
Depending on your baby’s individual needs, he or she will be cared for in one of these areas.
Small babies who are being fed through a nasogastric tube (a tube that goes into the stomach from the nose) and have no other problems, may be transferred to the postnatal ward with their mother when all is well. Here, they will have the continued support of the transitional care team which works exclusively on the postnatal wards.
This ensures that wherever possible, babies are not separated from their mother in their early days of life.
Newcastle Hospitals’ Neonatal Intensive Care Unit will soon use the electronic patient record system, BadgerNet.
BadgerNet provides a fully digital, safe and secure baby health record. It is already being used throughout Newcastle Hospitals, as well as across the north east, meaning labour, birth, early intervention, transitional care and neonatal intensive care data are held on the same system.
Each baby’s information is stored securely and cannot be accessed without the appropriate log-in details.
By using a single electronic record, it means parents:
- don’t have to repeat important information when engaging with different staff, reducing any potential discharge delays
- can experience a more seamless, positive experience if transferred between different hospitals
Switch to digital records in NICU
Due to the switch from paper to electronic notes, this means parents who are already in NICU when BadgerNet is launched will notice they will no longer be able to view their baby’s physical paper records.
Parents will be supported by staff during the transition, who will ensure they are kept up to date about their baby’s care. They are welcome to read the electronic notes on request.
Specialist transfer service
We run a 24/7 service for the region called the Northern Neonatal Transfer Service (NNeTS) where we transfer babies who need specialist care from hospitals around the North of England, to the RVI.
If the doctors and nurses decide that your baby is well enough to be transferred from our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to another hospital, you can be taken by ambulance with paramedics who have had specialist training. This ensures your baby can be transferred safely, and any care your baby may need during the journey can be given.
Support when leaving the ward
We offer parents training in resuscitation during the preparation for leaving the unit, and the chance to stay in a flat close to the ward to prepare for home.
The Children’s Community Nursing Service provides support in the community for infants with complex needs, or those on oxygen at home.
Most babies will have follow-up appointments closer to their own homes. Those with more complex needs might need to come back to the RVI for on-going care.
We have parental support groups that run regularly – please ask your doctor or nurse for more details.
Contact us on 0191 282 5635