The Neonatal Unit
The neonatal unit in Salisbury is classed as a Local Neonatal Unit (LNU) within the Thames Valley and Wessex Neonatal Network (TVWNN). The unit in Salisbury cares for babies born after 27 completed weeks gestation, and those requiring less than 48 hours ventilation. Those babies born at less than 27 weeks gestation, babies of any gestation who require the support of a ventilator for more than 48 hours or require surgery or specialist treatments including cooling, are transferred by a specialist neonatal transport service to one of the Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) in the network. Our two local units are in Southampton and Portsmouth. On the rare occasions that the two NICUs are full we may transfer babies to Bristol or Oxford.
When a woman presents in preterm labour at a gestation less than 27 completed weeks of her pregnancy, or if the baby is suspected to have a condition that may need specialist treatment such as surgery, plans are usually made to transfer Mother and Baby to one of the specialist units prior to birth. However if labour is progressing quickly or the Mother is too unwell to travel, the baby may be born in Salisbury and transferred out once the condition has been stabilised. This means that we care for all babies at all gestations that are born in Salisbury Hospital and offer treatment and stabilisation for the smallest and sickest babies prior to their transfer to one of the Neonatal Intensive Care Units within the TVW Neonatal Network.
At Salisbury Hospital Neonatal unit we are proud of our extensive facilities available for family use. We have parent accommodation which has direct access to the unit. There are four double bedrooms all with ensuite bathrooms and there is a large sitting room for parents and their visitors with two sofas and television.
There is a communal kitchen for food preparation with fridge, microwave and dishwasher. Tea, coffee and milk are all supplied for parents and their visitors. We also have a private enclosed patio area/outdoor dining area, playground and a play room specific for supervised sibling use.
In addition there is a large separate toilet with disabled and toddler changing facilities, a cloakroom with lockers for parents and visitors to leave outdoor wear and bags which should not be bought into the unit for both safety and infection control reasons.
There is a small quiet room for use at any time for parents to spend some quiet time alone or together as a couple. This room is also used for private conversations with doctors or nurses or to express breast milk. However we do encourage parents to express milk whilst holding the baby or sitting closely to the cot or incubator as this has a positive effect on milk flow.
Parent craft sessions are offered to help parents learn skills to aid in caring for their baby, these include resuscitation skills which are taught to all parents whose baby or babies have been cared for in the neonatal unit for more than 48 hours.
Within the unit itself there are four single rooms known as 'Kangaroo Care Rooms' where one parent is able to stay in a room together with the baby/babies. Generally these rooms are used by the mother, however some fathers stay at times. These rooms are used for giving you the opportunity to ‘room in' with your new baby prior to discharge home.
The rooms are also often used for those babies who have been in the unit for a number of weeks and still require nursing care they allow you to ease yourself into parenthood by spending time close to your baby, and having opportunity to give prolonged skin to skin contact to the baby. Bathroom facilities exist with shower on a shared basis. Whilst in the Kangaroo care rooms parents are asked to leave the blinds open at all times except whilst dressing and undressing, this is to ensure that the nursing staff can continue to closely observe the baby.
There is a small but comprehensive kitchen on the unit for use by those parents using the kangaroo care rooms.
The unit is divided into three areas; intensive care, special care and kangaroo care.
Our staff at Salisbury District Hospital have long been well regarded for the quality of care and treatment they provide for our patients and for their innovation, commitment and professionalism. This has been recognised in a wide range of achievements and it is reflected in our award of NHS Foundation Trust status. This is afforded to hospitals that provide the highest standards of care.