The Westmead Women’s & Newborn Health Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) cares for babies born prematurely or born with health problems requiring specialist support.
Our Unit can provide ventilation to extremely premature newborn babies. For more information on prematurity of newborn babies, you can read here. We have a close working relationship with Westmead Children’s Hospital (WCH) and provide the initial care needed for newborn babies being transferred for surgery at the WCH. We care for almost 1500 newborns a year from the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) and around the state of NSW. You can find more information on the NSW Pregnancy and Newborn Services Network (PSN) here.
Entry to the NICU is through a secured front entrance. Please ring the bell and wait for a staff member to open the door. If there is no answer straight away especially in the afternoons or at night, the staff may be busy caring for a baby and will answer as soon as they can. These security measures are to protect you and your baby's privacy and safety.
Fact Sheet: Visiting your newborn in the NICU
We ask all parents and visitors to wash their hands immediately before entering the unit using the alcohol hand pump at the door of the NICU. Hand washing helps to protect your baby and helps to prevent the spread of infections that are carried on the skin.
We ask parents and visitors to follow the actions below to prevent babies getting infections:
- Please wash hands using the alcohol rub (pink fluid).
- Place jackets, jumpers and coats on hooks provided outside tour baby’s room.
- Please remove all jewellery (watches, rings except wedding rings).
- Please roll up long sleeves to your elbow.
- Please rewash hands with soap and water after each nappy change and on leaving the NICU.
Babies are very vulnerable to infections such as colds, flu, fever, rash, diarrhoea, etc. If you or your visitors have been unwell, please do not visit the NICU.
If you are unsure it is safe for you to visit the NICU, please speak to your local doctor to assess your risk of spreading infection to premature or unwell newborn babies.
During your baby's stay with us you can expect to meet many health professionals:
- Consultant Neonatologists (specialist doctors) for newborn babies
- Neonatal Fellows -Doctors doing their final studies to become a consultant in the specialty of neonatology
- Registrars -Doctors training to become paediatricians or neonatologists
- Nurse Manager Senior Nurse in charge of all nursing staff and resources for the NICU
- Clinical Nurse Unit Managers (NUM’s) Nurse in charge of the staff and the unit for the shift
- Clinical Nurse Educators (CNE’s) Provide clinical training and support for nursing and medical staff working in the NICU
- Clinical Nurse Consultant (CNC) Nursing expert in NICU and responsible for development and review of clinical practice
- Registered Nurses (RN’s) – Qualified nurses providing bedside care
- Endorsed Enrolled Nurses (EEN’s) – Qualified enrolled nurses who can administer medications
- Neonatal Outreach Team – Qualified nurse practitioners that organise necessary support and follow up care after discharge
- Social Worker – Qualified professional trained to provide emotional and social support to families in distress
- Speech Pathologist – Qualified professional trained to help babies with development of sucking, swallowing and speech
- Clinical Psychologist – Qualified professional trained in the understanding of emotional and mental distress and ways to relieve distress and promote mental wellbeing
- Lactation Consultant – Specialist nurse / midwife in breastfeeding and infant feeding
- Ward clerks – Trained staff who manage the phones and paperwork for NICU
- Student midwives – Students being trained in the care of women throughout pregnancy, childbirth and for the first few months after birth and for care of the newborn baby
- Student nurses – Students being trained to become registered nurses and provide bedside care
- Volunteers – generous people who give their time freely to help our service
- Pharmacist – Qualified professional who dispenses medications and provides information on safe medication administration
- Occupational Therapist – Qualified professional who supports babies to develop normal movement skills with daily activities.
- Every morning there is a ward round where the team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals meet and plan the care for your baby. You are welcome to join us for your baby’s plan of care
- For privacy reasons you will be asked to leave the room during the ward round while discussion occurs for other babies in the room. When the team have finished you may re-enter the room
- We will include you in all of the care provided for your baby because we want to support your parenting and we understand how important your involvement is to your baby’s wellbeing
- Staff will teach you and help you to; change your baby’s nappy, feed and bath, cuddle your baby and any other cares your baby may need.
Fact Sheet: NICU Newborn tube feeding
Fact Sheet: NICU Pain management for babies needing procedures
The length of stay is different for each baby and depends on their gestation (weeks of pregnancy) at time of birth and if there are any health complications. Your doctors will discuss with you the expected length of stay and what developmental stage your baby will need to be for discharge home.
When your baby is ready to leave intensive care but still needs specialist nursery care, we will arrange a transfer to a special care nursery at a hospital that is closer to your home.
Smoking harms both you and your unborn baby, all our health facilities and grounds are 100% smoke free. Fines apply. the Quitline can help you to stop smoking and give your baby the best start in life.