About the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Royal

If you’ve had anything to do with a premature or critically ill baby, and you live in New South Wales (NSW), you’d probably know The Royal’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Intimately. But if you’ve been lucky enough not to, here are a few statistics.

The Newborn Care Centre (NCC), as it’s fondly known, is the largest Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in NSW. It provides highly specialised medical and surgical care for sick newborn infants, both premature and those born at full term.

Currently, the NCC:

•    Has 44 beds (cots) including 16 in Level 3 (which is Intensive Care), 18 cots in Level 2 (Intermediate care) and 10 in the lowest level of care, (Level 1) which is where your baby is cared for when you’re very close to going home! 
•    Cares for up to 1000 babies each year (of which 150 are extremely premature and 350 require ventilator support)
•    Looks after babies for an average of 4 days (given the number of babies close to full term), but is home to extremely premature babies for up to 100 days or more
•    Performs the largest number of preterm infant surgeries in NSW and is known as the “preterm surgical centre”
•    Is one of three tertiary referral units for NSW Neonatal Surgery and babies with abnormalities.
Leading the way in research, training and collaboration

Collaborating and sharing knowledge is the norm at the NCC, both within the unit and across The Royal and the Sydney Children’s Hospital. This gives its tiny and very sick patients the best chance at survival.  

Did you know that the NCC?

    Led a statewide, Australian and New Zealand-wide multidisciplinary collaboration on consensus in intravenous feeding and drug information and dosing for newborns. 

    Regularly works with highly skilled fetal medicine specialists at The Royal, who are state leaders in laser treatment of in-utero twin-twin transfusion complications

    Works with paediatric subspecialists from the Sydney Children’s Hospital including surgeons, cardiologists, intensivists, neurologists, geneticists and metabolic disease specialists when diagnosing and managing complex cases

    Is affiliated with the University of New South Wales and is actively involved in clinical and epidemiology research (including local and international multi-centre clinical research trials)

    Helps to train many doctors in perinatal and neonatal medicine through the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and overseas educational bodies from many countries 

    Is the first neonatal intensive care unit in NSW to implement the “Essentials of Care” initiative, promoting family-oriented care for infants and their families, and ensuring excellence in neonatal nursing care, including inter-professional communication and working relationships 

    Has implemented many thought leading initiatives including Developmentally Supportive Care principles, an ongoing Advanced Neonatal Resuscitation Training Program, Parent Education Programs, Parent Support groups and Co-Bedding of Multiples Births.
Our ongoing support for the NCC
 Since 2007, RFPB has raised over $1 million to buy life saving, state of the art equipment (this is a link to another page that talks about everything that’s been bought to date), for the NCC. A few highlights include:

•    Increasing the number of ICU cots from 12 in 2007 to 16 in 2014, enabling the NCC to care for more babies, especially extremely premature babies needing incubators with close temperature control and ventilators which provide a gentler treatment for their vulnerable and fragile lungs

•    Buying a new ultrasound machine (in 2013) that takes high quality images and video recordings of babies’ hearts and brains, which can be relayed directly to cardiologists (it’s also used to train neonatologists in cardiac ECHO skills).

•    Sponsoring the work of a research fellow to conduct life-saving research on prematurity issues (our new fundraising focus for 2014) 

That’s why RFPB needs your ongoing support, every year. Your donations simply help this very valuable unit to keep achieving ‘firsts’ and new initiatives. Without your support, many of our most premature and sickest babies would never have a chance of survival.