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The Westmead Women’s & Newborn Health Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) cares for babies born prematurely (earlier than expected) as well as babies born with health problems that will need specialist care. We work with the Children’s Hospital at Westmead (WCH) by providing the initial (first) care for babies who are to undergo surgery before they are transferred to WCH.

Westmead NICU consists of a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and a Special Care nursery. We are the largest NICU in NSW with over 1500 babies being admitted to our unit each year from our local health district as well as country areas of NSW.

Our NICU team of doctors, nurses and other medical professionals will help you through this journey and prepare you for what to expect of your baby.

You will have many questions about the care your baby needs during their stay here. The information provided here will help you with understanding the NICU and the fact sheets and links provided on our health information page will help you understand the many unfamiliar medical terms (words) you will hear. Please ask the doctor or nurse caring for your baby if you need further help or information.

How to contact us

You can telephone the NICU directly on 02 8890-7375 for general enquiries between 7am & 9pm, 7 days a week.

Once your baby has been admitted to the NICU, you will be provided with the telephone number of the room your baby is in. If you would like to speak with the staff caring for your baby, you can call anytime, day or night. For privacy reasons information will ONLY be provided to the parents.

Entering the NICU

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.

  • Visiting your newborn in the NICU
  • Hand washing and preventing infection to your baby or others

    We ask parents and visitors to follow the actions below to prevent babies getting infections.

    • We ask all parents and visitors to wash their hands immediately before entering the Unit using the alcohol hand pump at the front 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.
    • Put jackets, jumpers and coats on hooks provided outside your baby’s room.
    • Please remove all jewellery (watches, rings, etc. [wedding rings excepted]).
    • Please roll-up long sleeves to your elbow.
    • Please re-wash hands with soap and water after each nappy change and when you leave 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 doctor to assess your risk of spreading infection to premature or unwell newborn babies.

    Who will care for my baby in the NICU?

    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.

    Essentials of Care

    The staff at Westmead NICU are proud to participate in the Essential of Care Program, which aims to provide safe, dignified, and compassionate care for you and your baby.

    The program aims to help us collaborate with you to explore and improve our practices to provide the best care and service. It is also about creating a positive workplace culture and implementing quality improvement strategies in consultation with you. We are striving for the best patient outcomes we can achieve.

    You and your baby are at the centre of our care, therefore you may be asked to participate in surveys or questionnaires about your experiences in the NICU. This feedback allows us to improve and deliver the best possible patient centred care.

    Research Activities in the NICU

    Many babies and families in the NICU take part in research projects conducted within the Hospital. This research allows us to find new and better ways to improve the survival and long-term health of our babies. You may be asked if your baby can be part of a research project, or we may ask you to be part of a research project. The research project will be clearly explained to you and we will not enrol your baby without your permission. Taking part in research is your choice and no matter what you decide, we will continue to provide your baby with the best possible care.

    Westmead Hospital is affiliated with several universities and has many supervised students, both nursing and medical, on practical placements in the NICU. Please understand that their learning is important to provide ongoing excellent care for newborns in the future.

    We understand how important your involvement is to your baby’s wellbeing

    Please note

    • A free and confidential interpreter service, including Auslan, is available 24 hours, 7 days a week.
      Ask staff to arrange an interpreter for you.
    • Carers provide care and unpaid assistance to others. They may be family members, friends or neighbours.
      Please tell staff if you have a carer.
    • Parking is available on the hospital campus for a fee.

     

    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.

    Chinese

    Quitline Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese) 1300 7848 36

    Arabic

    Quitline Arabic 1300 7848 03

    English

    Quitline English 137 848

    Korean

    Quitline Korean 1300 7848 23

    Vietnamese

    Quitline Vietnamese 1300 7848 65

    Aboriginal people

    Quitline for Aboriginal people 137 848