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The Canterbury Neonatal Service provides a holistic family/whānau oriented model of care. We view the baby/pēpi as being the focus for our planning of care and for this reason, we have incorporated a Developmentally Supportive Care Neonatal Service for all our babies/pēpi.
The Neonatal Service provides 24-hour care for newborn babies with a variety of special needs. This includes prematurity, surgery, congenital abnormalities and babies who may have been compromised at birth.
Care is provided by a skilled and experienced multi-disciplinary team utilising current evidence based practice.
The Canterbury Neonatal Service provides special and intensive care for all babies born in the wider Canterbury region. This region extends to Timaru in the South, Greymouth in the West and Kaikoura in the North (approximately 20000 square kilometres).
In addition all newborn babies requiring surgery in the South Island, which is approximately 50,000 square kilometres (excluding the Nelson region), will be cared for within this service. If a baby requires cardiac surgery then once stabilised, the baby will be transferred to New Zealand’s/Aotearoa’s only Paediatric Cardiac Surgery Unit, which is in Auckland.
In view of the large geographical area that this service is responsible for, a highly skilled Neonatal retrieval team is available 24 hours to transport babies to and from our tertiary referral centre in Christchurch/Ōtautahi. However when emergencies occur in a home setting the ambulance is called first. In 2009, approximately 100 transports by helicopter, fixed wing aircraft, or ambulance.
The Neonatal Service currently provides 10 intensive care cots and 28 Level 2 cots, a total of 38. In 2010, 830 newborn babies/pēpi were admitted to the Neonatal Service. The gestational age varied from less than 26 weeks to 42 weeks. The smallest baby admitted weighed less than 500g.
We recognise that breastfeeding is an integral part of the care that our babies/pēpi receive and this is both facilitated and encouraged in accordance with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) joint statement in 1989. This is supported by the BFHI.
The Service has a strong Nursing and Medical research philosophy. At any time there are numerous consented studies or reviews in progress. To facilitate this process there are Neonatal Research Nurses employed to assist in the management of some of the Neonatal studies. More information on current studies in progress is provided here.
The care that we provide, is guided by the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumer’s Rights and The Treaty of Waitangi/ Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Please see our Service Philosophy.
The Canterbury Neonatal Service prides itself on its multi-disciplinary approach and teamwork when caring for the babies/pēpi and family/whānau of Canterbury/Waitaha. We are constantly sustaining and improving the type of care that we provide for our community/takiwhā. Central to this is our reflective practice and our desire to base as much of our model of care as possible, on current evidence based practice.
Consistently provide, as a team, quality holistic care with respect for family/whānau, encompassing the concepts of Te Whare Tapa Whā (The four cornerstones of health), Te Taha Wairua (Spiritual), Te Taha Tinana (Physical), Te Taha Whānau (Family), Te Taha Hinengaro (Emotional and psychological) in accordance with Te Tiriti o Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi) and the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers Rights (1994).
Create and maintain an environment, conducive to the provision of developmentally supportive care, which will maximise the baby’s/pēpi’s outcome and potential for a dignified and independent life.
Promote and foster healthy interpersonal relationships, between nga mātua/parents, extended family/whānau and baby/pēpi.
Ensure the multi-disciplinary team advocates for the baby/pēpi and their family/whānau in all aspects of care including complaints.
Encourage open and effective communication between all staff and family/whānau in a supportive caring environment, providing interpretation when required, without discrimination.
Ensure appropriate preparation for discharge and ongoing needs. These needs will be established in consultation with the family/whānau and multi-disciplinary team members.
Recognise the necessity, of maintaining high levels of care and skill within the Neonatal Service, based on evidence based practice, current teaching and research.
Provides clinical coordination and professional leadership, support, guidance and coaching to nursing staff of the neonatal service on a shift by shift basis ensuring the provision of safe, effective quality care.
Provides leadership for the service in conjunction with the Nurse Manager. The CD is responsible for co-ordinating the team providing the medical management of the babies in our service, and represents the service nationally and internationally.
Clinical Nurse specialist (advanced neonatal practice); CNS(ANP) are senior nurses who have many years experience and have done speciality training to work on the medical team. They rotate around different areas of the Neonatal service with the registrars covering different areas of neonatal, postnatal, delivery suite and retrievals. They are responsible for the day to day medical management of your infants and will discuss any concerns with the Neonatal consultant on duty.
The Neonatal Dietitian is here to make sure your baby receives the best nutrition and she will be monitoring the growth and nutritional intake of your baby. She is on the morning ward rounds to look at growth charts, to discuss and implement feeding changes. If you have questions regarding what nutrition your baby is receiving or your babies growth then ask your nurse to contact her and she can come and discuss this with you. She is also able to provide advice for breastfeeding mothers on their own nutrition as this can be an issue for many busy parents. She is available Monday to Friday.
The role of the discharge facilitator is to assist in the preparation of families transitioning to home. In particular, families who are discharging with ongoing medical needs such as home oxygen and tube feeding. Discharge facilitators are part of a multi-disciplinary team caring for the family and liaise closely with the Neonatal Outreach Nurses. Contact details are 364 4244 or pager numbers 5291 / 5487.
Provides quality nursing care, support and education to babies and their parents within the special care/level 2 environment of the Neonatal Service.
Hearing screening is offered to all babies admitted to NICU as part of the national Universal Newborn Hearing Screening and Early Intervention Programme. At some point during a baby’s NICU journey, parents/caregivers are given written information about the programme. We have a team of four NICU nurses who complete screening of the babies admitted to NICU. As a baby nears discharge home (usually after 36 weeks), parents/caregivers will be approached by one of the nurses on the hearing screening team to see if they would be interested in having their baby screened. This is a good opportunity for parents/caregivers to ask any questions they may have about the screening. Hearing screening is a simple process, and parents/caregivers are given the results from the screen straight away.
To facilitate appropriate cleaning and setting up of equipment to support the Clinical Team in the care of the neonate and to ensure adequate stock levels are maintained.
Infection Control and Prevention Nurse Specialist
The Clinical Nurse Specialist in Infection Prevention and Control (IP&C) is an information/advisory resource who has specialist education in this field of nursing. This specialist nurse can provide education and support in relation to any IP&C issues both to parents and staff in neonatal unit e.g. infectious disease and how we control these in the unit. In addition, there are printed resources available which may also be useful for parents.
Provides a strong parent craft model of nursing care to babies and their parents within the special care/level 2 environment, this includes consistent and current advice on areas such as lactation and discharge preparation.
Kia ora koutou. Ko Kathy Simmons toku ingoa, ko Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairoa toku Iwi. Kaiawhina Whaea me nga Pēpi. I am part of the multidisciplinary team and my role is to tautoko (support) and awhi (help) parents on their journey in NICU and provide a culturally safe environment.
Clinical Engineering takes care of the medical equipment and systems. This includes advice on the purchase, operation and the maintenance of medical equipment. The development of medical equipment systems to meet the clinical requirements is also included.
To facilitate the appropriate making of milk feeds and milk additives for infants within the Neonatal Services.
The nurse manager coordinates nursing and the support team across neonatal inpatient and outreach services, facilitating and promoting excellence in patient care.
A team of neonatal nurses who follow up a selection of babies from the neonatal unit after discharge to provide support and advice.
Consultant Neonatal Paediatricians: the paediatricians are responsible for the overall medical management of your baby. We have six neonatal consultants who rotate through service in the neonatal unit. You will see a lot more of the consultant who is “on service” for that week. If you would like to speak to your consultant please indicate to your nurse or the ACNM on duty. They will also follow your baby up after discharge if indicated.
A Clinical Pharmacist visits the Neonatal Unit each morning (Monday – Friday). The visit will usually include attending the ward round and providing medication dosing advice to the medical team and to any parents who may have medication related queries about their infant’s care. As part of the ward visit the pharmacist will also check medication charts to ensure that all prescriptions have been written correctly and that the medicines can be given in a safe and timely manner.
Nearer to the time of discharge home, if your infant will need medicines to be continued at home, the pharmacist will help to ensure that this can happen as easily as possible. In some cases there may be discharge medicines that need to be dispensed from the hospital pharmacy, rather than your local community pharmacy after discharge and the Neonatal Clinical Pharmacist and Discharge Facilitator will be able to advise you if this is the case. During your infant’s stay in the NICU please do ask the pharmacist if you have any questions about medication that you think they may be able to help with.
Physiotherapists assess infants for their development, head shape, range of movement and muscle strength, meet with parents for specific handling and positioning sessions and discuss developmental play ideas and liaises with the community therapists if infants have ongoing needs. Physiotherapists also run a developmental playgroup for preterm infants to ensure achievement of developmental milestones in the first year of life.
We are a team of five Radiologists (located at Christchurch Women’s Hospital and Christchurch Public Hospital) who specialises in Neonatal and Obstetric Radiology. We assess and diagnose neonatal abnormalities on several different forms of imaging. This most commonly includes neonatal Xrays and ultrasound but may also include CT, MRI and Xray fluoroscopy. We use a state of the art system called PACS which displays the images electronically and allows rapid communication of the results with the Neonatologists. We also present the cases for discussion at a weekly multidisciplinary Xray meeting with the Paediatric surgeons and Neonatologists.
Neonatal registrar: registrars are paediatricians in training (with several years practice as doctors already). They rotate around different areas of the Neonatal service with the CNS (ANP) covering different areas of neonatal, postnatal, delivery suite and retrievals. They are responsible for the day to day medical management of your infants and will discuss any concerns with the Neonatal consultant on duty.
Provides a high level of clinical nursing care for neonates within the neonatal service and their families.
The Women’s and Children’s Safety and Quality Unit (SQU) is responsible for overseeing the quality and safety of the services we offer and providing guidance, tools and advice to clinical/operational staff and managers. We are continuously monitoring the quality of care users of our services receive and looking for ways that collectively we can improve this.
There are three Social Workers in NICU, Nicci, Fleur and Mary-Anne providing 80 hours of support each week. We assist with practical and emotional issues that may arise. Our goal is to work alongside families to help reduce stress in order that parents can attach and experience the most positive start possible with their baby/babies. We can refer onto agencies when support is required following discharge.
NICU Social Worker work with families providing emotional and practical support. We understand the complexity of the issues in the NICU. Our role is to walk beside families through the NICU journey to help reduce stress in the unit and at home.
There is a Speech Language Therapy service available to all babies admitted to the NICU. We offer a Monday to Friday service, and there are currently three therapists on the unit. Speech Language Therapists assess your baby’s sucking and feeding skills, and will create individual feeding plans to help with his or her sucking and feeding. For those babies that are bottle fed, we may recommend specialist teats.
We also work in conjunction with the infant feeding specialist, the physiotherapist and the medical team to give advice around feeding positions and routines. We usually see babies born early, those with syndromes, cleft palate or any baby having difficulty feeding. Babies can have feeding difficulties for a variety of reasons, so our involvement may be for a short or long time. For those babies that are on the NICU for a long time, we also give advice about early communication development. Outpatient follow-up is also available once your baby has gone home.
The Christchurch Women’s Neonatal Transport Team covers retrievals of newborn, premature and/or sick babies from Kaikoura to the West Coast and down to Timaru, as not all hospitals have the resources to care for preterm or sick babies. The team also covers the retrieval of babies requiring surgical intervention from Nelson to Invercargill and take them to Christchurch Women’s Hospital, which is the only hospital that provides surgical services to neonates in the South Island.
The transport team may also collect preterm or sick babies from other hospitals around New Zealand if the retrieval team from the referring hospital is unable to do the transport. The transport team will also transfer babies back to their home hospitals once they are well enough and are almost ready for discharge home.
The goal of the Neonatal Emergency Transport Team is to provide the same quality of specialised care to newborn, premature and/or sick babies as they would receive within the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit environment to reduce morbidity and mortality. The team is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The transport team consists of a dedicated team of specially trained Registered Nurses/Midwives, Clinical Nurse Specialist/Advanced Nurse Practitioner and a Neonatal Registrar.
The babies are transported by Road Ambulance (St John) or by Fixed Wing Aircraft (New Zealand Flying Doctors) or Helicopter (Garden City Helicopter).
The Neonatal Transport Team does between 60-80 emergency retrievals a year and 40 transfers of babies back to their home hospital. About half of the transports are by ambulance and half by fixed wing and only a few by helicopter.
The Neonatal Service provides a multidisciplinary team approach to breastfeeding and infant feeding.
The Clinical Nurse Specialist supports staff and families in breastfeeding education and clinical matters. To contact: Pager 8363.
Monitors Breastfeeding Initiative standards around the 10 steps to successful breastfeeding, the non-breastfeeding mother, the International Code of Marketing and subsequent resolution, and the Treaty of Waitangi.
Clinical expertise in breastfeeding and supports colleagues in clinical breast feeding skills
Assesses complex babies for neurodevelopmental issues related to feeding, sucking amd swallowing.
Assesses the suck and swallow of complex babies and implements a programme with staff and parents involved.
A nurse who works with complex babies and plays an important role in setting up specifically targeted programmes and recourses for discharge into the community e.g. teaching home feeding via pump.
The Neonatal Service supports the Baby Friendly Initiative and recognises the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding . For information about the Ten Steps and the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative see .babyfriendly.org.nz
The following outlines your Baby Friendly Hospital education requirements:
Our Level 3 or intensive care area provides care for babies/pēpi who need help with breathing (ventilator or CPAP) or who have complex needs including needing surgery. In addition, any baby that requires intensive observation will be cared for within this environment.
The service utilises Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and various forms of ventilation (High Frequency and Nitric Oxide, Volume and SIMV-Synchronised Intermittent Mandatory Ventilation) in supporting babies who are experiencing breathing difficulties or who require support post surgery.
Utilising the extended multi-disciplinary team, these babies are cared for in a physical environment that enables us to closely monitor all of their activity. Extremely sick or unwell babies are usually cared for by one Nurse who is able to solely focus on the baby’s/pēpi’s and family’s/whānau’s needs.
Within our entire neonatal environment the parents are a valued member of the team. Staff will assist in any way possible to minimise separation and encourage contact. This often involves changing nappies, taking temperatures and kangaroo care. The parents’ role is highly valued.
The Level 2 or special care area provides support and care for babies/pēpi who are able to breath for themselves but may still have special needs that require input from our multi-disciplinary team. These babies may require oxygen therapy, intravenous therapy, antibiotics, who are of a low birth weight, or are unable to keep warm or feed well.
This area doesn’t appear as “High Tech” as intensive care and encourages the family/whānau to participate more freely in the care of their baby/pēpi. In this situation, one Nurse will care for up to five babies.
Babies often progress into room 6 where their care is focused more on the “well” baby who perhaps still remains a little small and who is beginning to establish oral feeding. The physical surroundings of this nursery, allows and encourages families/whānau to achieve a high level of participation in the care of their baby/pēpi. Nurses in this level impart Parentcraft skills that will be of enormous value when the babies are discharged into their home environment.
Parent rooms are available when the baby/pēpi is close to discharge. We aim for all parents to room in with their baby/pēpi for at least one night prior to discharge to enable parents to feel more confident on discharge. Meals are provided for parents living in.
This visiting policy has been developed to ensure an optimal safe and secure environment for your baby, by minimising infection risk, protecting family’s individual privacy, and providing an environment that promotes baby’s well-being and development.
We recommend no more than three people per family at any one time. This includes parents. Baby’s health and safety can be affected by over-stimulation, particularly if they are early or unwell. By limiting the number of people at the bedside, this reduces noise, activity, infection risk and helps in baby’s rest and wellbeing. In the event that the nursery area becomes too noisy or overcrowded, impacting on the babies’ wellbeing, a nurse may request that you take your visitors out to the parent lounge. Please do not be offended.
Hands must be washed immediately upon entering the unit. This is to prevent the spread of infections that are carried on the skin; as well as cold and flu viruses, which are carried in the air and on objects such as furniture, hands, baggage, clothing, etc. Sterilising foam is also available at your baby’s cot.
For more information about visiting Neonatel services read the Neonatal Visiting Policy Pamphlet
There are people who can help you through this stressful time with your new baby.
This service is independent of the Canterbury District Health Board. It is a free service and provides:
Information on Health and Disability Consumer Rights.
Assistance to the person to resolve the difficulty.
to raise with the health organisations and promote organisations and promote organisational change on issues which hinder appropriate care.
The service can be contacted by phone (03) 377 7501 (leave a message on the answer phone if the office is unattended).
When babies/pēpi born very preterm reach 34-36 weeks corrected gestation or those with complex needs getting ready to be discharged from the hospital, our Discharge planning nurses are introduced to the family. They work through the discharge needs of each baby with the family/whānau.
The Discharge Facilitators issue a “Road to Home” pamphlet to families. The pamphlet consists of several cue boxes that are used for discussion with the parents regarding preparation for discharge, readiness of the home for baby and ongoing follow-up. It is a useful tool as it contributes to a smooth transition home.
The Outreach Nurses will be introduced to the family/whānau of the baby/pēpi being discharged from the service, prior to the discharge date. It is important that all support mechanisms and future appointments are in place so that the transition to home goes as smoothly as possible. Once the baby has been discharged to the home/kainga, the Outreach Nurse will visit both baby/pēpi and family/whānau for as long as is deemed necessary.
Parents are encouraged to spend 24-48 hours living in hospital with their baby/babies just prior to discharge. This eases the transfer to home and is an opportunity to consolidate feeding and caring for their baby. Timing will depend on space availability. We have six parent rooms available.
Babies who have Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, once they are stabilised in the hospital environment, can also be discharged into their home/kainga environment. The Outreach Nurses will visit and monitor these babies on a regular basis.This type of approach fosters a more contented baby and family.
The Neonatal Service supports the Baby Friendly Initiative and recognises the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.
For information about the Ten Steps and the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative see babyfriendly.org.nz
Aotearoa: New Zealand
Nga Matua: Parents
The body’s ability to take in, or incorporate back into the body, fluids or food.
Drugs used for bringing on the loss of sensation (and hence pain) in many medical and surgical procedures. General anaesthetic (GA) produces unconsciousness and is administered by a specially trained doctor called an Anaesthetist.
Drugs used to fight off bacterial infection. E.g. Vancomycin, Gentamicin, and Amoxil.
The reduction below normal levels of the number of red blood cells (haemoglobin).
A numerical scoring system given at 1, 5, and 10 minutes after birth to evaluate the condition of the baby at delivery by checking the heart rate, respiratory rate, colour, irritability and muscle tone. Ten is the maximum.
The temporary stopping of breathing by a baby.
A monitor that is connected to the baby with a sensor that specifically alarms when a baby stops breathing or pauses for more than 20 seconds.
The breathing of material into the windpipe (trachea) or lung; or 2. Removal of material from the lungs (secretions) or stomach by suctioning.
Suffocation due to lack of oxygen and high carbon dioxide levels in the blood.
A colloquial word to describe the procedure of applying oxygen via a mask connected to an oxygen bag. The baby’s nose and mouth are covered by the mask and the bag gently squeezed to ventilating the lungs
A breakdown product of red blood cells; excess amounts cause jaundice (a yellowing of the skin).
A test performed on a sample of blood – arterial (from an artery) or a cap gas (from a capillary i.e. a heal prick) – to measure the amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the bloodstream.
A test of a sample of blood to tell the numbers of red and white cells at a given time. Also known as Full Blood Count.
Blood Pressure (BP)
The pressure of force that the blood exerts against the walls of the arteries during circulation. It is described by numbers: systolic (the top or high number) and diastolic (the low or bottom number).
Blood given to replenish a deficit caused by taking blood samples for tests.
Establishing a close relationship between a parent and a child.
An abnormally slow heart rate (beats per minute) i.e. less than 100 for a preterm baby. A newborn’s heart rate is usually 120 to 160.
A machine to monitor the brain waves of a baby. Used when suspected injury has occurred, usually following a traumatic birth or prolonged resuscitation
A device, either hand or electrically driven, to extract breast milk.
A breathing circuit that bubbles air or oxygen through water giving continuous positive airway pressure. See CPAP.
A medicine given to babies to stimulate their breathing.
A tube to either put fluid into the baby’s body or to drain fluid out of it.
Applying to the structure and the functions of the brain.
Each human body cell has 46 chromosomes; 23 pairs. They are the genetic blueprint containing all the information that makes each human unique.
Chronic Lung Disease
Chronic disease/damage to lungs that requires long term support with ventilation/CPAP/oxygen therapy.
The first breast milk produced after the birth of a baby. It appears thick and yellowish in colour and is rich in protein and antibodies.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
A method whereby baby does his/her own breathing while having some continuous lung expansion by way of a machine delivering air with or without added oxygen.
Describes the age your baby would have been if he was born at term. E.g. for a baby born at 30 weeks (10 weeks early), when your baby is 6 months old from birth, his corrected age is 3 ½ months.
CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)
A machine to help keep an infant’s lung expanded while he does his own breathing.
A biological term for a specially prepared substance to grow microbes (germs) on to identify which organism to treat for an illness.
Being low in fluids due to vomiting, diarrhoea, overheating and/or evaporation through the skin.
A sterile sugar solution given into a vein to maintain or raise the level of sugar in the blood.
Commonly used name for an intravenous infusion (IV). A system where a measured sterile fluid is given via a small needle and tubing by an electric pump.
Expressed breast milk.
Use of ultrasound to examine the structure of the heart. The ultrasound waves are directed at the heart through the chest wall and seen on a screen.
Refers to the minerals in the blood. E.g. Sodium, Potassium, and Calcium.
Endotracheal Tube (ET tube)
A plastic tube used to pass through the baby’s mouth or nose into the windpipe (trachea) and is connected to the ventilator.
When the breastmilk is coming in. Sometimes the breasts become enlarged and uncomfortable. Helped by frequent breast-feeding or expressing.
Blood given as an exchange for severe jaundice (yellowing of the skin).
Position in which a baby lies with straight arms and legs.
Removal of the tube from the windpipe/trachea.
Two soft spots on a baby’s head – a large spot on the top, and a smaller one near the back of it. The spots close within 12 to 18 months.
Milk mixtures suitable for infant’s consumption.
The time in weeks from the last menstrual period, indicating the length of the pregnancy. Full term is 40 weeks, but can range from 37 – 42 weeks.
Sex organs – penis or vagina.
A natural sugar which is a main source of energy for the body.
Baby’s head size measured at the largest point.
High frequency ventilation (Hi-Fi)
Special type of ventilation where the ventilator delivers frequent rapid breathes that can be in excess of 150 breaths per minute
Breast milk of higher fat content that follows after the let-down reflex once the baby has been sucking for some time. This may be 2-3 minutes or 4-5 strong sucks.
Characteristics transmitted from one generation to another through genes on the chromosomes.
A protein present in the red blood cells that carries oxygen around the body to the tissues.
Bleeding either inside or outside the body.
A small prick in the baby’s heel to do blood tests (usually for blood gases or blood sugar levels).
A bulge of tissue where the bowel protrudes outside the abdomen. An inguinal hernia is in the groin. It is more frequent in premature boys, and is often repaired by surgery.
Hyaline Membrane Disease (HMD)
Sometimes referred to as respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). A lung condition mostly occurring in babies less than 32 weeks gestation due to a lack of surfactant that is present naturally in larger amounts in babies not born so prematurely.
Low blood sugar.
Specially enclosed bed with the ability to control temperature.
The rapid invasion of the body (in or on) by harmful organisms (bugs). Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics; very few viruses are treatable.
Direct access into the vein by needle or plastic tube for giving fluids or drugs.
The act of inserting the endotracheal tube; usually through the mouth, but also can be through the nose.
An area set aside to keep anyone suspected of a contagious infection away from others. It is usual to nurse such babies on their own and staff to wear gown and gloves.
The yellow colour of a baby’s skin caused by too much bilirubin in the layer below the skin. It is usually treated by phototherapy.
The body’s process of making breastmilk.
The soft downy hair some babies are born with, especially if premature. It falls out over time.
Fat contained in a white fluid and given as part of intravenous therapy in babies who are unable to feed by mouth.
Amniotic fluids surrounding the baby (in the womb) until the membranes rupture.
An IV sited in the elbow or foot which sits well inside the body in a large vein.
A needle inserted between the vertebra near the bottom of the spine to collect cerebrospinal fluid. It is sent to the laboratory to help in the diagnosis of infection.
Greenish-black mucus like substance present in the intestines of newborns. The first meconium is usually passed in the first 24 hours.
A machine used to help observe functions such as respiratory rate and heart rate. It is connected to the baby by electrodes and sensors.
Fluid found in the nose and windpipe.
A heart sound heard through a stethoscope. There are many causes. An echo is usually done to determine the reason in your baby.
Refers to the first 28 days after birth (however, many babies are in neonatal units for longer than this).
Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)
Inflammation or infection of the bowel wall of some infants.
The art of creating a safe position with boundaries for premature babies in incubators.
Neonatologist A doctor with special training and interest in premature and sick newborns.
Nasogastric Tube (NG tube)
A tube placed in the stomach – via the nose – to feed a baby too small or tired to manage breast or bottle for all feeds.
A doctor specialising in the treatment and diagnosis of eye defects, injuries and diseases.
Open bed with a warmer to control the baby’s temperature. It is used on admission and while a lot of intervention is still needed.
A gas that makes up 21% of the air we breathe. When more oxygen is required it can be given up to 100% as a medical gas.
Treatment for jaundice that involves the use of white or blue light directed at the uncovered skin of the baby in an incubator for a variable period of time.
Leakage of air from the lung into the chest cavity. It may cause breathing problems necessitating the draining of this through a chest tube.
The rhythmic expansion of an artery caused by a heartbeat which may be felt with a finger.
Monitor that gives an oxygen saturation reading in the baby’s blood. It is usually attached to the hand or foot and has a red light.
The fluid component of blood in which the red cells are suspended.
The position of lying the baby on his or her stomach.
Specified period during the day when babies and parents can rest undisturbed.
The backs of the eye where blood vessels supplying the light sensitive cells are found.
Mothers may move in to stay when their baby is establishing breast feeding. This is especially so when baby is starting to demand feeds. Regardless of whether you breast or bottle feed there will come a time for you to live in prior to discharge. You should have your baby in your room and provide total care for your baby.
Respiritory Distress Syndrome
See Hyaline Membrane Disease
A drug given to settle a baby. Often ventilated babies require sedation.
An infection in the bloodstream that affects the whole body.
Small for Gestational Age (SGA)
Babies born weighing much less than is considered optimum for their gestation.
Free from contamination by living organism (bugs).
Developmental encouragement given to the baby by either singing, talking, reading, or having things to look at; or 2. Physical encouragement to continue breathing when an apneoa occurs, by gently running your finger over the baby’s chest.
Sugar dispensed by pharmacy in suspension used to relieve pain during minor painful procedures e.g. heelpricks
Aspiration of fluid and mucus from the lungs; usually by mechanical means.
Compounds that line the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs of premature babies who have not had a chance to develop it naturally. It reduces the surface tension and therefore prevents lung collapse during expiration (breathing out).
Used to either inject fluid or medication or to withdraw fluid from the body.
Heart rate above 160 beats per minute.
Breathing rate above 60 breaths per minute.
Total Parental Nutrition (TPN)
Fluid given intravenously to promote your baby’s growth.
Umbilical Arterial Catheter (UAC)
A small tube in the umbilicus (cord) used for taking off blood samples and for measuring blood pressure.
Umbilical Venous Catheter (UVC)
Same as UAC but used for giving IV fluids like TPN and blood top-ups.
Breaths done by the ventilator machine when baby has an endotracheal tube (ETT) through the mouth or a naso/pharangeal tube through the nose into the trachea(windpipe) direct to the lungs.
Page last updated: 21 March 2019
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