Neonatal

The Neonatal Unit in University Hospital, Coventry, provides a range of tertiary care services to premature and sick babies in Coventry, Warwickshire and beyond.

The unit is a designated level 3 unit, and as part of the West Midlands Neonatal Operational Delivery Network, we have close links to Birmingham, Worcestershire, Hereford, Nuneaton and Warwickshire Hospitals.

We take pride in the services we provide for babies and their families, and in 2019 this dedication was rewarded as we became the first unit in the Midlands to achieve full Neonatal UNICEF Baby Friendly accreditation.

We have four levels of care within the Neonatal Unit.

Intensive Care - providing care for babies who require ventilatory support, babies who weigh less than 1000g, babies born under 28 weeks gestation, or any baby who requires intense monitoring or awaiting surgical intervention.

High Dependency - providing care for babies who require respiratory support, intravenous nutrition, or require close monitoring prior to being medically ready for Special Care.

Special Care - providing care for babies who still require monitoring or regular observation checks. They may be needing some oxygen requirements or feeding support e.g. through a nasogastric feeding tube.

Transitional Care - providing support for parents whose babies are well enough to stop monitoring but not quite ready for discharge, e.g. they still need some support establishing feeds. Parents are expected to stay with their baby and provide all the care their baby needs, but with support from nursing staff.

 

Medical definitions of prematurity

  Weeks of Gestation
Term A baby that has spent at least 37 weeks in the womb
Preterm Born before 37 weeks
Very Preterm Born between 29 and 32 weeks
Extremely Preterm Born at or before 28 weeks

 

We strongly believe in parents being our partners in care when it comes to the needs and decision making processes for your baby, and therefore the unit is open for parents to be with their baby any time day or night.

 

Visitors

Other family members and friends may visit between 8am and 8pm, but they must always be accompanied by parents.

Siblings are also welcome, accompanied by a parent, as we believe it is important for them to be involved and get to know their new sibling.

We have a strict policy of two people per cot side at any time, for safety reasons.

Please note our visiting policy can change at times, depending on current circumstances.

A member of staff will always inform you of any policy changes, such as visiting restrictions for grandparents and siblings. We hope you understand any changes made are done to maintain the safety of our patients, families and staff.

COVID-19 Notice: Currently due to Covid-19, our visiting policy has temporarily changed. Only parents can come onto the unit (open visiting as usual). No other visitors are allowed onto the unit including grandparents and siblings. We apologise for any inconvenience, but hope you understand this is to minimise any potential risks. Thank you.

Please do not come to the unit if you have a flu-like/respiratory illness and/or sickness and diarrhoea.

You must also keep away if you or any of your children have chicken pox, or if you have a cold sore. You must wait until the cold sore has dried up and healed before you can come onto the unit again.

Read our Patient Information Leaflet on Infection Prevention and Hand Washing.

 

Here on the Neonatal Unit we have a dedicated team of professionals caring for your baby. We believe in using current evidence-based practice and strive to continually improve our practice by carrying out research projects on the unit. With the mix of specialist knowledge and advice by the different members of the team, we pride ourselves on providing the best possible, highest quality of care for your baby.

Below is a list of the multi-disciplinary team members that you may meet during your baby’s stay on the unit, and what their role is in your child’s care.

 

Consultants

Updated information on our consultants can be viewed at the bottom of this page.

 

Nursing Team

On each shift there is a mix of registered Neonatal Nurses, registered Nurses, Nursery Nurses and Health Care Support Workers. You will have a named Nurse caring for your baby on each shift, and they will introduce themselves to you and be there to update and support you in planning the care of your baby.

 

Doctors

You will also see a mix of senior and junior Doctors, day and night, who work with the Consultants and Nurses in reviewing your baby’s needs continuously. Please feel encouraged to be present during ward rounds every day to discuss and plan your baby’s care needs with the medical team. The team are always available and willing to answer any questions/concerns you may have.

 

Advanced Neonatal Nurse Practitioners

We have a dedicated team of ANNPs on the unit that describe their role as:

‘A team of specialist nurses, that provide cover on the medical rota. As a team we support both the medical and nursing team.  We wear a dark navy uniform and you will see us on the ward round every day. We cover the neonatal unit, delivery unit and postnatal wards. You will see us undertake a lot of the procedures on your baby, we will provide compassion and support whilst we do this. We have a lot of knowledge and are always happy to answer any questions you may have. Our role involves education and training so during your stay with us you will see us teach the junior medical staff and nurses. Our team is expanding the whole time with nurses undergoing their ANNP training. We cover the day shifts and some cover night shift too’.

 

Ward Managers and Modern Matrons

We have a team of ward managers and matrons, who wear a black striped uniform. Their roles are to ensure the safety and quality of the care you receive is upheld. They maintain daily managerial duties within the Neonatal Unit, including performing cleaning audits and quality and safety audits. They also ensure the professional development of the staff within this area.

They provide support to staff as well as to parents and families. They are happy and willing to talk with you about any concerns or questions you have regarding your baby’s care.

 

Neonatal Education Team

Our Neonatal Education Team are based within the department, and describe their role as:

‘an essential role for the education, training and practice development to students, newly qualified and specialised nurses within the Neonatal Unit.

We also maintain clinical competence and professional development by participating in the assessment and planning of specialist evidence based care’.

 

Infant Feeding Lead

Our Infant Feeding Lead’s role is to ‘ensure that all neonatal staff are able to protect, promote and support breast milk and breastfeeding wherever possible and that they promote close and loving relationships for all our parents and babies. The lead also provides clinical support for mothers with complex feeding issues on the neonatal unit.

We became the first Neonatal Unit in the midlands achieve full Neonatal Baby Friendly status from UNICEF in 2019. This award recognises that here at UHCW we provide extremely high standards of care for all sick and preterm babies and their families’.

For more information please visit: www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/

 

Neonatal Development Care Lead

Our Developmental Care Lead is here to educate parents and staff in nursing techniques that will protect the normal development of your baby using the latest research based knowledge.

 

Additional Staff

As well as the medical and nursing team based on the Neonatal Unit, you will also come across other members of the multi-disciplinary team who may have a role in your baby’s care and treatment plan. These include:

Paediatric Speech and Language Therapist

Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, visits the unit regularly, and describes her role as ‘helping babies who are at risk of having feeding difficulties and supporting babies and their families to establish safe and positive oral feeding skills’.

Dietician

We have a Paediatric Dietician who regularly comes to the unit to assess the babies’ nutritional needs. She liaises with the parents, nursing and Medical team to create a plan suitable for each individual baby needing additional nutrition monitoring and support.

Pharmacists

A pharmacist will visit the unit daily to check prescriptions and put together and dispense medication for sick and premature infants.

Radiographers

You will see radiographers on the unit regularly. They use mobile x-ray machines, so that x-rays can be performed on the unit at the baby’s bedside, with no need to transfer preterm or sick babies to the x-ray department.

Ophthalmologists

A medical eye specialist visits the unit on a weekly basis to examine babies who are at higher risk of any possible eye conditions, including Retinopathy of Prematurity.

If your baby was born less than 32 weeks gestational age (up to 31 weeks and 6 days) or weighed less than 1501g at birth please enquire when your 1st screening is due. Most babies will receive their first screening the week around 30 weeks corrected gestation.

Medical and Nursing Students

As University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire is a teaching hospital, you will also often see medical students and nursing students working alongside our trained members of staff.

We are a new service launched in autumn 2021 providing specialist care and support to babies and their families in Coventry and Warwickshire after discharge from neonatal units at University Hospital, Coventry, George Eliot, Nuneaton, and Warwick Hospital.

Hosted by UHCW, we aim to work towards an earlier discharge for premature and term babies who require nasogastric tube feeds, home oxygen and home phototherapy by providing specialist support in the community - enabling babies and their families to be cared for together in their home environment.

The new team comprises of experienced and specialised neonatal nurses and a senior neonatal nursery nurse, who will work with each neonatal unit in the three hospital sites in the Health and Care Partnership (HCP) to ensure all families and babies have a smooth transition from hospital to home. Our focus is on family integrated care, delivering neonatal special care services at home, educating parents and families, reducing hospital stays and improving patient and parental experience.

The team is fully supported by the Local Maternity & Neonatal System (LMNS) and NHS England & NHS Improvement.

We appreciate that having a baby on the Neonatal Unit is an incredibly stressful and emotional time for you, and we therefore try to offer as much support for families as we can. Please see below a list of support services available.

 

BLISS & UHCW volunteers

We have BLISS and UHCW volunteers who visit the unit regularly to sit and chat with parents about their baby’s journey and any concerns they have. Parents find this helpful as the volunteers themselves are parents who have previously had a baby on the unit, so they are relatable and a great source of emotional support.

Please find the BLISS website link underneath for more useful information and support resources:

www.bliss.org.uk

 

Coffee mornings

The unit holds coffee mornings for past and present parents each month, where parents can sit and chat over coffee and cake. This is held in the Faith Centre. Please ask a member of staff for more information on dates and times.

We also take pride in celebrating World Prematurity Day on 17th November every year. More information on this becomes available nearer to the date.

 

Listening service

The unit can provide parents with an early signposting/listening service.

The service provides the opportunity to signpost early to appropriate services for example; health visitor, family fund, social care or perinatal psychology, and other support that will be available once home. Any parent can be referred who will benefit from early signposting to additional support services in the hospital setting or the community.

Please speak to a member of staff who can refer you to this service at any time.

 

The Chaplaincy

You can request to speak to a Chaplain who is always ready and willing to listen and talk with you in confidence. They offer their services for all faiths and religions, as well as those with none.

The Chaplain’s office can be found in the Faith Centre on the Ground Floor, West Wing.

The Faith centre has individual prayer rooms and always remains open. Or you can simply visit here for some peace and quiet away from the unit.

 

Bereavement team

We have a dedicated bereavement support team should you require their support. Please ask a member of staff for more information and contact details.

 

Support for siblings

We provide a support group named ‘ZigZags’, for siblings whose baby brother/sister is currently on the Neonatal Unit. We recognise that they also need attention and support through this confusing time. The support group offers time away from the unit for siblings to play, and it also gives them the chance to ask questions and learn about what is happening with their sibling should they want to talk about it.

 

Social media

We have a private support group on Facebook for parents of preterm/term babies who have spent time on our unit. It gives parents the opportunity to share their stories and experiences and help other parents who may currently be on the Neonatal journey. This can be found on Facebook by searching ‘UHCW NICU’

 

Support for Dads

We offer support sessions for Dads on the unit, run by one of our male Neonatal consultants, in which dads can get together and discuss anything they wish and to provide support to each other. Please ask a member of staff for more details regarding these sessions and when they take place.

There is also a Facebook group set up specifically for dads of a premature/or sick baby that has spent time within the UHCW Neonatal environment. Please feel free to share your posts and experiences as a dad on the group and help to support our fellow dads who are currently experiencing having a baby being cared for on NICU. You can find this group by searching on Facebook for ‘UHCW NICU DADS GROUP’.

You can also visit www.dadsmatteruk.org for additional information and support.

 

V-create

We can provide parents with regular videos and photographs of their baby currently on the unit, through our V-create system. This is a digital NHS-approved video messaging service, which allows parents to see their babies when they cannot be with them. Please visit the V-create website below for more information on this service: https://www.vcreate.tv/

 

Concerns and complaints

Please feel encouraged to raise any questions/concerns with the Nurse or Doctor caring for you baby, at any time. If you still feel your concern has not been answered or resolved adequately then you should raise this further with the Nurse co-ordinator, Manager, Modern Matron or a Consultant.

Should you wish to take a concern/complaint further following this, then please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). You can contact them by telephone on 08000284203, or email them at feedback@uhcw.nhs.uk. PALS will offer a friendly, confidential service that will provide you with help, advice and support.

Research is a way of gaining knowledge and improving our understanding of diseases, treatments, and the effects of current practice. It is an important tool for improving the quality of care that we provide, and for improving the chances of babies’ healthy survival.

UHCW Neonatal Unit is committed to research and has an active research program. We undertake different types of research studies, some involving data collection only and others looking at the difference between one treatment compared to another, which may involve a new medicine or blood tests. Some research is for local projects within UHCW and the West midlands network, whereas other studies will be part of national and international studies.

All research has to be approved by regulatory and ethical authorities to ensure that involvement in studies does not impose any increased risk to your baby than the normal standard of care.

We are pleased to be able to offer parents the opportunity to participate in a number of research studies at UHCW. A member of the clinical team may approach you to discuss your babies involvement in a study but it is entirely your decision if you participate or not and we will always ask for your consent. Whether you choose to participate or not will not affect the high standard of care that your baby receives while on the neonatal unit.

 

When your baby is ready for discharge from the unit, you will feel a mix of emotions, as this is an exciting but anxious time. As a team we will prepare you for this in advance of the discharge date, so that you feel ready and confident to take your baby home.

There is a regular “Home Time” session that takes place on the unit, where a member of the team will discuss the discharge process with parents and talk through any concerns/questions you may have.

You will also be given a “Home Time” pack prior to discharge, which includes information regarding support in the community, such as Health Visitor information, support groups, Children’s Centres and other sources of information.

It may be that your baby needs ongoing medical care at discharge, such as oxygen or tube feeding, and this will all be carefully planned by the team in advance of discharge.

You will be given the opportunity to care for your baby in Transitional Care, where you will stay overnight with your baby, and attend to all their needs with the support of nursing staff, until your baby is medically ready for discharge, and you feel fully equipped to take your baby home.

Babies requiring ongoing medical care at home will be supported by members of the community teams, including Health Visitors, Community Children’s Nurses and General Practitioners, Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists, as well as having follow up appointments with a Neonatal Consultant that has been involved in your baby’s care on the unit.

 

Expressing Rooms

You are welcome to express your milk at your baby’s bedside on the unit, with the use of privacy screens. However we also have two expressing rooms available with comfortable seating. These private rooms are located in the Family Area next to the Reception desk on the Neonatal Unit.

 

Milk Kitchen

There are dedicated areas or rooms where you can store and prepare expressed breast milk for your baby. The area has a fridge, a freezer and cleaning equipment. We can only store 1 basket of breast milk for each baby so please take excess home to store safely in your freezer. Remember to check the freezer for milk before you are discharged home too.

 

Neonatal Unit Family Area

The family area is located next to the Reception desk on the Neonatal Unit. This is an area where parents and visitors can spend some time relaxing on the comfortable seating, read a magazine or watch TV. There are lockers where parents can store their valuables if they wish, and there is a kitchen joined where you can access tea/coffee, a fridge and microwave should you wish to bring in your own food. The family area also has toys and books for siblings to play with. Please note children must not be left unattended in this area.

 

Special Care Baby Unit Family Area

On the Special Care Baby Unit located on the 2nd Floor, there is a family area where parents and visitors can spend time and relax. There are also some toys and books for siblings to play with, and a portable DVD player with a selection of DVDs. Please do not leave children unattended in this area.

 

Transitional Care Rooms

Our Transitional Care rooms are located on the Special Care Baby Unit, 2nd floor West Wing, on the end of ward 25. This is where parents can stay with their baby close to their discharge date. Here they will provide all care for their baby with the support of the Nursing staff. There are two private Transitional Care rooms with en suite toilet and shower facilities. There is a single bed, however Fathers are also welcome to stay, using our camp beds provided. Should both these rooms be occupied, we can also offer mother’s a camp bed to stay next to their baby’s bed space in the Special Care bay.

Mothers in Transitional Care can have breakfast; lunch and dinner provided by the hospital during their stay, should they wish.

 

Neonatal Unit Overnight Rooms

Located on the Neonatal Unit, just beyond the Family Area, we have two overnight rooms. We offer one of these rooms to parents who are travelling a long distance, until their baby can be transferred to a Hospital closer to home. We also offer one of these rooms to parents whose babies are very sick so they can be close by during the day and night.

These rooms have double beds, a TV, en suite with a toilet and shower, and the kitchen is located just outside the rooms, with facilities to make food and drinks.

 

Contact the unit

We are happy for you to phone us with questions at any time. There is always somebody here to help. Please find our contact numbers listed below.

Neonatal Unit Reception 02476 966 673
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit 02476 966 668
Neonatal High Dependency Unit, (HDU 4) 02476 966 670
Neonatal High Dependency Unit, (HDU 5) 02476 966 671
Special Care Baby Unit, (SCBU 1) 02476 966 671
Special Care Baby Unit, (SCBU 2) 02476 967 316
Transitional Care Unit 02476 967 316

 

Meet the team


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