neonatal nursery redvelopment wch

New Neonatal Nurseries part of $50m upgrade at Women’s and Children’s Hospital

The state’s tiniest patients and their families are the utmost priority in the ongoing $50 million redevelopment being carried out across the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, with the first phase of Neonatal Nursery upgrades completed, and subsequent stages underway.

scbu wch

Building what matters for SA families

A brand-new purpose-built hospital – to be co-located with the Royal Adelaide Hospital – is currently in the planning stages, but in the meantime, extensive upgrades to the current WCH will ensure that South Aussie families continue to have access to modern health facilities.

Women and families will continue to be well taken care of at WCH, with the priority and extent of the upgrades carefully chosen to provide the biggest impact and ensure the current hospital continues to meet the needs of births, babies and beyond.

We have your sneak peek into the redevelopment plans and works underway so you can have a first look at how the significant upgrade will benefit children, parents and families while providing a healing and supportive environment to some of our most vulnerable newborn babies.

scbu wch

Neonatal Nursery Upgrades

Special Care Baby Unit

A new and improved Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) has been completed as part of the initial stages of the WCH upgrades. This beautiful space is used by families with premature babies or babies born with health complications who need to spend a little bit of extra time in hospital.

The new SCBU is a wonderful example of what the WCH team can do, with clinicians, staff and consumers working closely with the design team to create a spacious, calming and supportive environment where quality care can be delivered, and important services made available to some of the hospital’s most vulnerable patients.

SCBU WCH scbu wch

A number of features of the new SCBU have come as a direct result of community and staff consultation including: 

  • A new family lounge area
  • Additional space at the cot side for families and carers to spend quality time with their baby in comfort
  • Isolation rooms for individual and twin babies
  • Information panel at the nursery entrance where families can see which staff members are assigned to care for their infant
  • A dedicated wash-up station for cleaning breast feeding equipment
  • Staff call system in each cot space
  • Introduction of programmed circadian lighting to promote neuro-developmental care

The larger space will also improve patient privacy and infection control while making families feel more comfortable during what is often a difficult and stressful time.

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scbu wch

Neonatal Nursery

The next stage of the Neonatal Nursery redevelopment involves upgrading the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the area that cares for the sickest and most vulnerable babies in the state.

Family centred care is a focus of the NICU upgrade, with larger cot spaces, single patient rooms for improved privacy and infection control, and a multi-purpose room for palliative care patients allowing families or carers to stay overnight.

neonatal upgrade wch

While the works are underway the team at WCH are making sure patients and families are kept as comfortable as possible, including providing tiny earmuffs for the littlest patients, if need be.

The redevelopment of the NICU is scheduled to be completed mid 2021.

New spaces will make a huge difference to families doing it tough

The importance of both the NICU and the SCBU is something mum of two, Amy Purling, knows all too well after the Women’s and Children’s Hospital became something of a home away from home for herself and two sons, James (age 5) and Jack (22 months) over the past 5 years.

new wch scbu

Both boys were born prematurely and spent time in both the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Special Care Baby Unit.

With firsthand experience of the emotional challenge families face when spending so much time in and out of hospital, Amy says the new spaces will make a huge difference for those going through tough times.

“The new SCBU is so bright and spacious and will help families feel calm in the uncertainty that can come from having a child in the nursery,” Amy said. “I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the upgrades.”

Further Upgrades to the WCH

Other future upgrades to the WCH include:

  • Child Adolescent Mental Health Ward relocation and redevelopment with outdoor space and High Dependency area.
  • Paediatric Emergency Department redevelopment, with improved triage area, dedicated Mental Health Assessment Spaces and three extra treatment areas.
  • Operating Theatres refurbishment in their current locations.
  • Engineering and ICT infrastructure upgrades.

So many people in the community have expressed an interest in being involved in the planning of the next phase of WCH, showing just how invested South Australians are in the iconic Hospital and wider network. The WCH will continue to engage with the community to ensure they provide services that support health and wellbeing and make South Australia proud.

Get involved in planning for the new WCH, by registering your interest:

Learn more about the upgrades and the new WCH:

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