Transferring from NICU to another hospital

If your baby is doing well but not yet ready to go home, the next stage of your baby’s care will be in a special care unit at another hospital.

Below are the answers to some common questions parents ask about their baby moving to another hospital.

Why does my baby have to move?

The Women’s NICU is an intensive care unit. Once your baby no longer needs this level of care, they are best cared for in a Special Care Nursery unit, such as the Women’s at Sandringham SCN. In this setting, staff are more able to prepare you and your baby for going home.

How will the care at the new hospital be different?

Each hospital has a slightly different way of doing things. It is important to remember that you are the expert with regard to your baby. Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge with staff at the new hospital. Tell them about your baby’s specific needs, their likes and their dislikes. If you are uncomfortable about a change in your baby’s care ask to speak to the doctor, nurse or the unit manager about your concerns and about any impact you feel this may have on your baby.

How will my baby be transferred?

Your baby will be transferred by a specialist baby transport service (PIPER) designed for moving babies safely from one hospital to another. Your care manager will discuss this with you.

How will my baby’s information be shared?

Your care manager and your baby’s doctor will contact the nursery at the new hospital. The paediatrician and nurses will receive a detailed handover about your baby’s past and current health and care. A discharge letter will accompany your baby at the time of transfer. You will be given a copy of this. Babies born before 28 weeks and those weighing below 1000 grams are offered a two year follow-up appointment at the Women’s Newborn Follow-up Clinic. This will be sent to you.

Can I see where my baby is going before the transfer?

Your care manager can arrange a tour of the nursery before your baby is transferred. You can also contact the nursery directly to ask any questions you may have before the transfer.

When will my baby be transferred?

First, we will assess your baby to make sure they are well and their health is stable for the transfer. Your baby will be transferred when a bed becomes available at the special care nursery. We usually only know this on the day of transfer. Once we do know, your care manager will contact you and tell you when the transfer is expected to happen.

Everyone talks about this as a positive step for my baby, what can I do if I feel upset or anxious?

The move is a positive step, but some parents might feel sad as they farewell their baby’s first crib and the hospital staff and parents. Anxiety is also a normal response to any change that involves your baby. It is okay to have these emotions and to need extra support from family, friends or professionals during this transitional phase. Please talk to Social Work before or after transfer if you feel you need additional support.

Who do I talk to if I need more information or if I have any concerns?

Your care manager, doctors and social workers are available to discuss any concerns or questions that you may have. You can also ask to speak to the Consumer Liaison team if you are concerned about any decisions that are being made.

Services and supports

If you or your baby is receiving a service at the Women’s that needs to be continued after transfer, the team responsible will refer you to a service either in the hospital or in the community. If you are not sure about these arrangements, please have a chat to the team before the transfer. 

This page can be printed as a PDF (see below).


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