Visiting our units
We value parents as partners in the care of their infants and want you to feel fully involved in your baby’s care.
Parents have open access to their infant/s 24 hours a day. We particularly encourage parents to attend morning ward rounds to discuss the care of your baby in partnership with the NICU/SCBU team. You will be required to wear headphones if other families’ care is being discussed whilst you are in the nursery. If you do not wish to wear the headphones, then you will be asked to leave the nurseries to protect other families’ confidentiality. Feel free to bring your own headphones in to use.
- Siblings are welcome at your baby’s cot side when accompanied by a parent/s
- Siblings must be up-to-date with their immunisations
- Siblings must not come to NICU/SCBU if having symptoms of cold, cough, upset stomach and must be symptom free for 48 hours
- If the sibling has come into contact with chickenpox or has a rash, you must inform the nurse in charge and visiting will not be permitted
- Parents can prepare siblings for the NICU/SCBU environment by using ‘baby’s come early’ leaflet. Ask your nurse for this
- Parents are asked to monitor sibling behaviour and well-being during their NICU/SCBU visit
- On occasion, staff may ask siblings to leave the room due to unit activity or procedures being carried out
- Children under 12 years of age must be accompanied by an adult at all times
- There may be restrictions periodically throughout the year dependant on seasonal viruses and community outbreaks
- Siblings can access the sitting room
Grandparents, Family and Friends
- Grandparents, Family & friends over 16 years of age may visit if accompanied by the baby’s parents during 12pm—8pm.
- Grandparents, Family & friends are restricted from visiting during all ward rounds .
- At any one time, there must be no more than three people at the cotside in total. There may be situations where no more than 2 people are allowed.
- Grandparents, Family & friends must not come to NICU/SCBU if having symptoms of cold, cough, upset stomach and must be symptom free for 48 hours
- If grandparents, family/friends has come into contact with chickenpox/shingles or has a rash, you must inform the nurse in charge and visiting will not be permitted
Visiting is not permitted with the following symptoms :
- High temperature
- Cough/cold/flu symptoms
- Chickenpox (Contact or symptoms)/Shingles
- Open wounds
- Cold sores
All visitors are required to wash their hands with soap & water and follow up with alcohol rub when first arriving in NICU/SCBU.
Current COVID-19 restrictions
We continue to welcome you to spend as much time as you wish with your baby, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We have taken the very difficult decision to restrict all sibling visitation as well as grandparents and extended family and friends during the pandemic. Please adhere to the nurse’s advice on social distancing. If the nurseries are getting over-crowded, we may politely ask some parents to step out for a while and take turns to be with their baby. The higher the number of babies we have in the nursery, the more cautious we have to be to ensure we continue to maintain an appropriate social distance. It is important for you to be with your baby but infection poses a great risk to a premature or sick baby.
If you are unwell or have cold or flu-like symptoms (example: feel warm to touch, body ache, headache, cough, sore throat, loss or change to your sense of taste or smell), you must NOT attend the unit. This also applies if you have been in contact with anyone with the described symptoms and you must follow Government advice to self-isolate for 10 days.
Please phone to speak to the nurse-in-charge before attending the NICU/SCBU if you are unsure as to whether it is safe for you to do so. This is very important with the current issues surrounding coronavirus infection.
In order to ensure that we minimise any risk of spread of the virus to your baby or between parents and staff, our staff undergo regular COVID screening to help identify anyone with the virus who is not showing symptoms.
We strongly advise that you also support us in these efforts by having regular COVID swabbing tests. At the Luton site only, we provide such tests for parents on a weekly basis EVERY THURSDAY 8am-2pm.
By participating in this weekly, you will be supporting the safety of the unit and reducing the risk to yourself, your baby and staff. This also supports us in continuing to enable unrestricted access to our parents. Please ask your nurse about our swabbing programme if you have any questions or concerns about it.
Additionally, we strongly recommend and encourage that you all undertake twice weekly lateral flow testing. This is in line with precautions staff are taking in order to protect your babies. Lateral Flow Kits are widely available from pharmacies and screening centres or you can order kits to be delivered to your home. They are free to all and provide you with a 7-day supply. Please see below link for further information on how to get the kits
What should I do when I get my Lateral flow test result?
This means that the test detected coronavirus in your body on the day of your test.
It is very important from when you receive the confirmation of a rapid positive test, that:
- You and members of your household must self-isolate for 10 days, this means stay at home, you must not go out to work, school or public places, you must not go out to get food and medicine
- You MUST arrange for a PCR test within 48 hours of your lateral flow test result
- You MUST inform your employer or education provider that you have received a positive result
- NHS Test and Trace will contact you to identify people you may have been in contact with, so that they can alert other people who may need to self-isolate
- Anyone who lives with you must self-isolate for 10 days because it can take this long for symptoms to develop after exposure.
Contact tracing for non-household contacts (such as within workplace or school settings) will take place following a positive test.
This means the test did not detect you had Coronavirus on the day you were tested.
We will ask about your most recent lateral flow test result when we go through the symptom checklist on your arrival at the unit each day. We strongly encourage you to support us in keeping our babies, parents and staff safe.
Please also be aware that there will be an increased number of staff members during the doctors’ ward round. If both parents are present at this time, we may request for one or both of you to leave the nursery until such time when the doctors are reviewing your baby and you are then both welcome to discuss your baby’s care and progress with the doctors together.
The wearing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during your stay in the nursery is constantly under review. The staff will advise and provide you with the appropriate PPE on the day. If walking around the unit, please wear a mask at all times. Please note that you must perform hand hygiene before wearing and after removing PPE.
If you are well and able to attend:
- When you come to see your baby, please use the hand gel before entering the front door of the NICU
- Please remove your outer jacket before entering the nursery
- When you enter the nursery, make sure that you are ‘bare below the elbows’ to perform handwashing with soap and water. You need to roll up long sleeves to above your elbow, remove any bracelets/bangles/watches before you perform handwashing
- After handwashing, please dry your hands and apply alcohol hand rub. You need to perform handwashing again before your leave the nursery
- A maximum of 2 parents will be allowed in the parent lounge room at any one time and maximum of 1 parent will be allowed in the kitchen at any one time. This is to comply with social distancing
If you are unable to attend due to being unwell in yourself or having been in contact with someone with symptoms, we are able to send you videos and photos of your baby and can be contacted at any time for updates on how your baby is progressing.
Further information on coronavirus can be obtained from www.gov.uk/coronavirus or phone 119 (the NHS test and trace service).