Hospital prepares to move newborns into new clinic
Precious bundles are moving to Middlemore Hospital's newest unit this Sunday.
Babies needing specialist care will now be treated in the new state-of-art neonatal care unit.
Middlemore copes with the highest birth rate in the country, with around 8500 babies born each year. About 850 of them need specialist care. Hospital services director Phillip Balmer says no area is more acute than the newborn unit.
Neonatal care will now have the capacity to care for 38 babies. Nurses have dedicated stations at each bedside and will spend their shifts caring for just two babies.
The new unit also includes a support area that will allow parents and families to be with their babies and an isolation unit for critical babies.
Highly specialised equipment such as ventilators, brain monitors, heat tables and transport systems will help keep babies warm as they are transported from the birthing suite, theatres or maternity ward to the new unit.
Neonatal paediatrician Lindsay Mildenhall says the unit's location makes it easier and safer for transporting babies.
"Many babies coming into the unit are born at just 23 weeks and may stay there for one or two weeks or even nine months," Dr Mildenhall says.
To prepare for the new arrivals nurses have been busy creating real-life situations on a simulator baby known as SimNewB.
Moving the fragile newborns on Sunday has taken months of planning and will involve specialist transport teams and support to ensure their safe delivery.