Life on our Neonatal Unit 

Once your baby is on our unit you will be given the name of the nurse who will be responsible for your baby’s care each shift and the names of the other members of the team looking after your baby.

All of our staff wear visible identity badges telling you who they are and what they do, if you are not sure who someone is, please ask.

  • Visiting the Neonatal Unit

    We are open 24 hours and encourage you as parents to visit your baby any time. We ask that all other visitors, grandparents, siblings and other relatives visit between 10am and 8pm.


    Our special visiting needs

    Due to limited space, a maximum of four visitors per baby are allowed in the Neonatal Unit (NNU) at any time and only two of those visitors may be at the cot or incubator bedside (we ask for one to always be a parent.) The two visitors not at the cot space may stay in our reception area on the unit. Other visitors are welcome to wait in the public areas of the hospital e.g. the cafeteria.

    Visitors under sixteen years old are not allowed to visit. Brothers and sisters of the baby are welcome; under sixteens without prior consent will not be allowed to see your baby.

    Parents and relatives must not visit the unit if they are unwell e.g. rashes, symptoms of flu/cold or diarrhoea or vomiting within the previous 48 hours. If you are unsure about your own symptoms or a visitor’s symptoms, please ask your baby’s nurse or a member of the team before coming on to the ward.

    Over the winter months’ visiting is restricted because of the increased risk of introducing common infections such as influenza or norovirus to the babies on the unit. During this time, only parent and grandparents of the baby are allowed to visit. You will be advised when these restrictions are in place.

  • Hand hygiene

    Hand hygiene on our Neonatal Unit is vital for reducing the risk of infection for the babies. Babies’ immune systems are more vulnerable and more so for our premature patients because they have not developed properly yet.

    You must wash your hands at the following times:

    • On entering the unit, at reception
    • Every time you enter or leave the nursery your baby is in
    • Before and after you handle your baby

    Always wash your hands with soap and water; alcohol gel must be applied after washing.

    Please remove any bracelets, watches and rings; you may keep on one plain wedding band only.

    If you are wearing a long sleeved top; roll your sleeves up to above your elbow.

    Our NNU staff will teach you how and when to clean your hands. Please ask if you need a refresher.

  • Lockers

    You will be allocated a locker whilst your baby is in the unit. Please keep your personal belongings in your locker while visiting your baby. Please ask our reception team for more information and keys.

  • Ward rounds

    Ward rounds are when the core senior clinical and nursing teams come round to each bedside to observe and assess your baby’s condition.

    Ward rounds take place at the following times:

    Monday to Thursday: 11am – 12pm

    Friday: 10 – 11am

    Weekends: Times vary. Please ask your baby’s named nurse.

    If you are visiting during a ward round you will normally be invited to stay while your baby’s care is being discussed. We may ask you to leave the nursery while other babies are being assessed, in order to ensure privacy and confidentiality is maintained.

    Outside of the ward round you may like to meet with your consultant to answer any questions or concerns you may have. They will be available between 10am and 4pm. Please speak with your nurse to arrange a convenient meeting time.

  • NNU handovers

    Handover times are when the core team looking after your baby switch shifts. They will always handover to each other in full and the times this happens are listed below:

    Nursing handover: Morning: 8 - 8.30am. Evening: 8 - 8.30pm

    Doctor’s handover: Times will vary, but are usually the same as the above, apart from an additional handover at 4.30 - 5pm

  • Transferring to another hospital

    Once a baby no longer needs the specialist services provided on our unit, it is best for both babies and their families to be in a hospital closer to home. This allows care to begin or continue with local teams.

    In order to allow us to accept babies needing intensive care, we are only able to provide special care and transitional care for babies whose homes are local to this hospital. If we are not your baby’s closest unit, we will aim to transfer your baby to your local hospital once it is deemed clinically appropriate.

    Local hospitals work closely together in a Neonatal Network providing specialist care for poorly newborn babies. Please visit the website for a full list of the hospitals and further information:

    www.londonneonatalnetwork.org.uk/

  • Parent education

    We have a parent education session every Monday at 5pm and Friday at 11am in the parents lounge. This is an opportunity to ask our nursery nurse any questions you have on preparing for your babies home date. We encourage all of our parents to attend, especially when your baby has moved into one of our special care nurseries.

  • Parent group

    We have a parent group (The Pudding Club) every Tuesday in the parents lounge from 12.30 – 13.30pm. This is an opportunity to meet and talk with other parents. The session is facilitated by two staff members and we welcome all parents on the unit.

  • Newborn Individualised Developmental Care and Assessment Programme (NIDCAP)

    Newborn Individualised Developmental Care and Assessment Programme (NIDCAP) is an approach which informs how we care for vulnerable babies by reading each infant’s individual behavioural cues of strength and sensitivity so that we learn and understand what the baby is communicating. There is evidence to show that by listening to the babies and using what they ‘say’ to shape how we interact or tend to them, we are protecting and enhancing brain development, positively influencing the infant’s potential for the person they will grow up to be. Working collaboratively with the baby, together with acknowledging that parents are the most important caregivers, is the core of NIDCAP.

    Gillian Kennedy, consultant speech and language therapist, is one of only two NIDCAP trainers in the UK.

    Find out more about NIDCAP.