Useful Information & FAQs

The following information and questions may help parents while their baby is in neonatal care. If you have any further suggestions please do not hesitate to contact us.


Transitional Care

Keeping mothers and babies together should be the cornerstone of newborn care. Neonatal Transitional Care supports mothers as primary care providers for their babies with care requirements in excess of normal newborn care, but who do not require to be in a neonatal unit.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

NICU, sometimes referred to as Tertiary/level 3 units. NICU’s care for babies born from 22 weeks gestation, babies who have a surgical need and babies who need prolonged intensive care. Here in the East of England we have 3 NICU’s; Addenbrookes, Luton & Dunstable and Norfolk & Norwich



Local Neonatal Unit (LNU)

Local Neonatal units care for babies greater than 27 weeks gestation if a singleton pregnancy and greater than 28 weeks if a multiple pregnancy. Babies cared for in an LNU can receive short term intensive care treatment requiring respiratory support on a ventilator.



Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU)

SCBU’s care for babies born from 30 weeks onwards if the baby is a singleton and from 32 weeks if a multiple pregnancy. Babies will receive minimal respiratory support, tube feeding, continuous monitoring and supportive care prior to discharge home.



Transfer before baby is born

At the early stage of pregnancy, mothers are usually booked for maternity care at their local hospital. These hospitals all have neonatal services that are able to provide immediate, emergency care for babies who are born unexpectedly premature or sick. However, not all hospitals have the right level of on-going care your baby may need; if this is the case then you may be transferred to a specialist unit before baby is born*. Your baby will then stay there until they are stable and improving. It is better for your baby to be transferred before your baby is born if at all possible. However, if this is not possible then your baby will be transferred by the specialist Paediatric & Neonatal Decision Support & Retrieval Service (PaNDR) after birth.

*Occasionally, you may not deliver after transfer. If this is the case, then you may be discharged home or transferred back to your local hospital for continued care.


Transferring to your local hospital for continuing Care

Once your baby no longer requires specialist medical, surgical or nursing care, your baby will be transferred back to a hospital closer to home ( this then helps other babies to access specialist care). This is usually your local hospital, however occasionally it may be an alternative hospital (but still close to home), if your local hospital is unable to accommodate your baby.

It is important for your baby’s care to be transferred back to your local hospital. This allows the team to get to know you and your baby, as your local hospital will be providing continuing care and follow up after your baby is discharged home.

The specialist Paediatric & Neonatal Decision Support & Retrieval Service (PaNDR), or local ambulance service, with a nurse and/or doctor, will transfer your baby back to your local hospital when your baby is ready.


What charities can be helpful with information and support?

There are many national and local charities which can provide you with support and information. Our recommendations are below, but also ask your nurse or health visitor about any local groups.

  • Bliss is the major UK charity for premature and sick babies. They provides free information, support and a helpline. Helpline: 0500 618140 (9am to 9pm) www.bliss.org.uk
  • Best Beginnings provide free information, DVDs and support for parents www.bestbeginnings.org.uk
  • Sands provide information and support for those who have lost a baby. Helpline: 0207 436 5881 www.uk-sands.org
  • Please also visit the parents & carer’s page on this website for other useful links
Who are the different members of the multi-professional care team looking after my baby?
  • Anaesthetists: These are specialist doctors responsible for providing anaesthesia and pain management to patients before, during and after operations and surgical procedures.  
  • Care Coordinators: Support unit teams to provide Family Integrated Care and enhance the experience of families in their neonatal journey. 
  • Chaplains, faith leaders and spiritual support teams: these professionals may include faith and non-religious leaders who provide pastoral and emotional support 
  • Dietitians: Specialists who are skilled at assessing, diagnosing and managing the nutritional needs of neonates. They understand and interpret current clinical practice for neonatal parenteral and enteral feeding and can apply strategies to both individualised and standardised practice to meet the complex nutritional needs of preterm infants. 
  • Family Engagement Lead: Provides the link from yourselves to the Regional Network team, hearing your experience guides the future of neonatal care. 
  • Family support workers/teams: Family support workers have a special role in supporting you and your family’s needs during your stay. They will help you identify what kinds of support you need (e.g. emotional, financial, and practical) and the easiest and quickest ways to provide it.   
  • Health visitors: Those who plan for your discharge and support at home (0-5 years) 
  • Housekeeping teams: Responsible for maintaining a clean, tidy and well-presented environment. They may also be responsible for ordering non-medical supplies. 
  •  Infant feeding team: Staff who support with lactation and feeding. This may include Lactation Consultants who are specialists in breastfeeding/chestfeeding and lactation support.  
  • Medical doctors (neonatologists): Specialists in care for babies, including consultants, registrars and researchers 
  • Newborn hearing screener: Newborn hearing screeners help identify babies that may need further hearing testing   
  • Nurses: Ranging from the Matron in charge to sisters and staff nurses 
  • Occupational therapists Specialists in supporting parent infant co-occupations, understanding infant neurobehaviour and sensory motor development. They support the delivery of Developmental Care and FiCare through understanding how the environment and participation in occupations influences our health and wellbeing. They support parents to understand their babies, gain confidence in parental occupations and provide positive sensory experiences which benefits their motor, cognitive and emotional development. 
  • Ophthalmologist: A medical doctor who specialises in eye care to premature infants and newborn who may be at risk for eye problems and specific eye conditions. 
  • Outreach Team: Supporting families throughout the transition from the neonatal unit to home. They liaise with different healthcare professionals and agencies to provide appropriate care to the babies and families during discharge planning and once home. 
  • Parents & Carers: You as your baby’s parent or caregiver are the most important person for your baby and are a valued member of the neonatal team. All the units in our network practice Family Integrated Care (sometimes shortened to FiCare) which means that you will be supported to be involved in your baby’s care as much as possible at a pace and level that’s right for you. Babies tend to do better in the short and longer term when their parents are involved as much as possible in caring for them.    
  • Peer Supporters & Veteran Parents: Volunteers and previous parents who have had a baby on the neonatal unit may visit to provide peer support. This will provide you with an opportunity to share your experience with someone from outside of the neonatal unit.   
  • Pharmacists: Specialise in medication use in neonates. Check doses and monitoring of medication and provide support to the neonatal team around use and administration of medicines. 
  • Physiotherapists: Specialists in observation and assessment of an infant’s movement, muscle tone and development within the behavioural, environmental and family context of the neonatal unit.  They help to support the delivery of developmental care and FiCare by working with families to provide specific early intervention advice to optimise the infants’ brain and motor development.  They may also provide advice to optimise an infant’s respiratory function. 
  • Play Specialists: Specialists in supporting neonatal play and development.  
  • Psychological professionals: You may meet clinical psychologists, child & adolescent psychotherapists, counsellors and other psychological professionals on the neonatal unit. They are specially trained to help think about the emotional needs of babies, parents (and the wider family) and staff in the neonatal environment, recognising the significant psychological impact of a neonatal admission. They will help you to find ways to cope whilst you’re on the unit and during your next steps. 
  • Radiographers: Imaging specialists who take scans or x-rays of your baby 
  • Repatriation nurses: Nursing teams that assist families moving from one unit to another  
  • Social workers: social workers offer support and work with families who are experiencing additional challenges, pressures or risks in their lives. 
  • Speech and Language Therapists: Specialists in assessing and supporting feeding (breast and bottle feeding), swallowing, early language and communication development. 
  • Specialists Teams (not neonatal): This could be doctors, nurses or Allied Health Professionals (AHP’s) that may visit the unit  
  • Surgeons: who specialise in paediatric and neonatal surgery 
  • Ward clerks: First point of contact on the unit and could also be a source of useful information. These may be volunteers
What is FiCare?

“Family Integrated Care (FICare) is a model of neonatal care which promotes a culture of partnership between families and staff. This enables parents to become confident, knowledgeable and independent primary caregivers” (BAPM, 2021).

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