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Neonatal Unit – Te Whare Poipoi

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The Neonatal Unit has 17 inpatient beds and provides neonatal intensive and special care to preterm and unwell full term babies. Located at Level 1, Block C Palmerston North Hospital. Access via the main entrance.








How the Neonatal Unit Works

Important guidelines for you and your visitors while your pēpi is in the neonatal unit.
Te Whare Rapuora is a Whare located on site at the Hospital that all whānau have the option to access if they wish. The kaupapa of the Whare is to provide a safe, supportive environment for all whanau/families. Te Whare Rapuora is an environment for families/whānau to relax and also seek cultural support and advice. More information on Te Whare Rapuora is available.  
Visiting for parents/caregivers of the pēpi is not limited. You are welcome to visit your pēpi anytime of the day or night. Newborn pēpi, especially premature pēpi, are prone to infection, particularly respiratory infections. For this reason we limit visitors, especially those under the age of 12. Visiting for others can be variable due to multiple reasons; however generally visiting is limited to two people at the bedside at one time. Please ask the NNU staff for the up to date visiting policy. To allow us to continue to protect our vulnerable infants we do request that any visitors stay away if they are feeling unwell at all and reconsider visiting once they have recovered.
App for Neonatal Parents - BABBLE
MidCentral has developed an App specifically for our parents who have a pēpi in the neonatal unit or expecting a pēpi that may need admission to the Neonatal Unit. This app provides information and links to further reading around all you need to know for you infants care, development and treatment during their stay with us. In addition, it provides an opportunity to write and store journals and photos of your pēpi and to share it with your extended whanau.
The nursing staff work three shifts, each shift a nurse is assigned to your pēpi. They will introduce themselves to you, and together you can discuss the care for your pēpi during that shift. All pēpi are allocated one to two key nurses. These nurses will work closely with you around care planning and progress throughout your infant’s neonatal stay. Small and unwell babies need a lot of rest, so your infants care plan will allow for lots of rest between feeds. 
While in the Neonatal Unit a team of doctors will be involved in the care of your pēpi. Junior Paediatric medical staff will see each pēpi every day, managing their care and discussing care with a Paediatrician when appropriate. A designated Paediatrician will take overall responsibility and is available for you to discuss your infants care and treatment. We encourage and expect parental involvement in clinical decisions and care plans.
We value your infant’s privacy. When visiting please look only at your pēpi in the unit and please tell your visitors to respect privacy for other pēpi by not looking or asking questions regarding their care. We are not able to give you or your visitors any information on other pēpi and we will not share your infant’s details with anyone.
The Neonatal Unit is a secure locked unit. Please ring the bell and use the intercom to communicate with staff. The bell will ring inside the unit and the staff will be able to see you on their security monitor and will let you in.

When your pēpi is almost ready for discharge, it is recommended you will spend a few nights in hospital to establish feeding and prepare for going home. There are parent rooms in the NNU for parents to room in with their pēpi at no cost. These rooms are limited and are allocated to parents with pēpi closest to discharge.

  • Meals are provided for one parent only and catered by the hospital kitchen. Staff will check with you for any dietary requirements, please advise them if you have any concerns or needs.
  • Other whānau members may purchase a meal at the public cafeteria
  • There are no cooking facilities available for parents in the Neonatal Unit, however there are tea and coffee facilities and a small fridge in each room.
  • A toilet is available for visitors is in the waiting area next to Reception
  • There are no facilities for children to stay in Neonatal Unit parent rooms.

Car Parking
If you are a parent/caregiver in the Neonatal Unit we can validate your car parking to make travelling to and from the hospital a little bit easier while your pēpi is an inpatient with us. There are 3 available Neonatal car parks in the maternity parking area, however these still require visitors to enter the building via the main hospital front entrance. Alternatively you can park in the main hospital car park. 

Kind Hearts
Kind hearts, a charitable organization, kindly provides on-going practical support for parents supporting their sick infant’s in the Neonatal Unit at Palmerston North Hospital.
They deliver donated items (Snack foods, toiletries/sanitary products and books) on a regular basis. 

To prevent the spread of infection, it is important to wash your hands every time you enter the Neonatal Unit and before attending to your pēpi.  Please ask your visitors to wash their hands too. There is a washbasin just inside the entrance to the Neonatal Unit. We have alcohol gel available in each bed space; however handwashing with soap and water is preferred on entering the Neonatal Unit.

Lactation Consultant
The Neonatal Unit has a dedicated Lactation consultant to support you breastfeeding your pēpi. All Nursing staff are trained in supporting you with feeding your pēpi. The Neonatal Unit has expressing equipment for you to utilise during your stay.
Whānagi Ora Milk Bank kindly supplies our Neonatal Unit with Pasterised Donor Human Milk (PDHM). PDHM is available to our vulnerable pēpi who meet the criteria. Some mothers may need help getting started with breastfeeding, and breastmilk substitutes may be required while a mother’s milk supply is getting established. Premature babies especially need human milk for the immune protection and growth factors. The preferred option when mothers own milk is unavailable is PDHM. Informed consent is gained before giving your pēpi PDHM and there is agreed requirements for mothers to build their own milk supply.
Link to website:

Social Worker
Our aim is for all whānau to be seen by a social worker. Ask your infant’s nurse to arrange an appointment for you. They are able to provide support and information on community and financial assistance.       


On discharge follow-up will be arranged, as required, with your LMC (Lead Maternity Carer), GP (General Practitioner), Well Child Provider, Paediatrician or Children’s Homecare team. Please make sure you have a copy of your Infant’s discharge letter to take home with you if not available on discharge this will be sent out to you.

Contacting the NNU
We have a direct phone line for parents to ring into the Unit to talk to staff, on admission this be will provided to you. We advise you nominate a member of your whānau to liaise with other friends and whānau about your pēpi as staff are only permitted to give out information to parents.

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General information about Palmerston North Hospital.