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What happens after your baby is discharged from the neonatal unit

A light purple house-shape with an abstract image of a person cradling a baby and hands surrounding them both.

As your baby's discharge date gets closer, the nursing and medical staff will keep you informed. We usually say, aim for your due date. Babies born nearer their full term may be home before this time. Some very premature babies may still need to be looked after in the neonatal intensive care unit beyond their due date. When your baby is stable and getting closer to going home, to prepare you when going home, we may transfer you and your baby to Charles Wolfson ward. Please ask the nursing staff for more details

You may be introduced to one of our neonatal outreach nurses prior to your baby’s discharge. The neonatal outreach team normally visit as often as required when you are first discharged and become less frequent as your needs require. If you do not need our outreach team involvement, your community midwife and health visitor will be your main support once you are home. They will have been updated on your baby's treatment during your stay in NICU and on discharge. Health visitors should contact you at home after your discharge.

Neonatal outreach team

The neonatal outreach nurses are based on NICU and will be involved in discharge planning to ensure your baby is able to go home as soon as possible. They offer support at home to a range of premature and new born infants, up to 4 weeks post term gestation who have been discharged from NICU and transitional care. For longer term support your baby's’ care may be transferred to the children’s community nursing team.

The neonatal outreach team cover a large area, so families are asked to be understanding about punctuality for home visits as journey times and length of visits cannot always be expected. In Cambridge the outreach team works 7 days a week and work between 8am to 4pm. However the community team for this area may run slightly different than the community team that covers your area. Please speak with the nursing staff regarding your local community team and their service hours.

Please remember to register your baby with the GP before going home.

Follow-up clinics

Depending on your baby’s clinical needs, you may be offered ongoing follow up in one or more of the consultants clinics. Follow-up plans will be made and communicated to you before your baby is discharged. Clinics may include:

  • Neurology clinic
  • Surgical clinic
  • Neurodevelopment clinic
  • SHO clinic
  • Registrar clinic

Once at home

Once discharged the following health professionals will continue to advise you on feeding, growth, vaccinations and development as well as general care.

  • General practitioner (GP): A GP is your family doctor. They are the first person to see if you have any concerns about your baby’s health. Your GP can also make referrals to other health professionals.
  • Health visitor: Your health visitor will carry out health checks for growth and development. They can provide information about your baby’s health, home safety and parenting.
  • Practice nurse: You may see the a nurse at your GPs surgery or health centre. Practice nurses are often responsible for your baby’s vaccinations.
A map of Cambridge showing the NICU community catchment area
Neonatal Area covered at our NICU