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Section 1

The neonatal unit in the Rotunda has been providing care for all sick or premature infants born in the hospital and those transferred from other hospitals since the 1950s. The present unit was completed in 2002 and is situated on the second floor of the Hospital.

Most babies are in good health at birth but around 10% will require admission to the neonatal unit.  A large number of our patients are born less than 32 weeks gestation and weigh less than 1500 grams. Small premature babies (born before 34 weeks gestation) and sick bigger babies will be admitted to the neonatal unit for observation, treatment and ongoing care. 

newborn premature baby
Bigger babies are transferred back to their mothers on the postnatal ward once their condition improves. Premature babies, because they are born early, may take some time before they are well enough to go home. Babies transferred from other hospitals to the Rotunda for intensive care will be transferred back to their referring hospital for ongoing care once their condition is stable enough to allow their transfer. 

 
Every year, we have about 1400 babies admitted to our neonatal unit. The majority of those babies are born in the Rotunda Hospital. The team caring for your baby is multi-disciplinary in nature. This means that healthcare workers with different areas of expertise contribute to the day to day care of your baby. The team is made up of consultant neonatologists, paediatric registrars and senior house officers, clinical midwife managers, staff midwives and nurses, neonatal nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, pharmacists, a dietitian and social workers. 

medical staff of Rotunda Hospital
We also have consultant specialists in other paediatric disciplines such as cardiology and neurology that provide care. In addition, we have a very strong administrative team and clinical engineers that provide ongoing support. 

If your baby has been in the neonatal unit for a long time, going home is a very exciting time but it can also be very overwhelming. Your baby will be ready for discharge when s/he is feeding well, keeping warm in a cot and gaining weight. The midwifery and nursing staff along with our neonatal discharge coordinator will guide you on how to care for your baby at home.
Parents and newborn premature baby in neonatal unit 
Our philosophy of care in the neonatal unit is to:
  • Provide a high standard of holistic family-centred care to sick newborn infants and their families.
  • Ensure all care is individualised and developmentally supportive so that all infants may achieve their maximum potential.
  • Provide support and education to parents and family by maximising their involvement and facilitating good communication with all team members.

For more information, you can download our Parent's Guide to the Neonatal Unit booklet here.  A version in Polish is available here.

The following links provide help and support to the families of preterm babies:
www.irishprematurebabies.com
www.bliss.org.uk

For further information on the support services available in the Rotunda, please follow the links below:

Breastfeeding/lactation support
Bereavement 
Chaplaincy services
Medical social worker