Our Services

Neonatal Unit

Our Neonatal Unit is one of three centres of excellence within Greater Manchester providing specialist care to sick and preterm infants.

Our highly skilled professional team provides family centered care to ensure an excellent, positive family experience. We include the family in the care of their baby and any decision making to ensure an excellent, positive experience in accordance with our Philosophy of Care.

The unit provides care for Bolton families as well as serving Greater Manchester and other areas when required.

Please can all visitors ensure they have thoroughly washed their hands and used the hand gel before entering the unit.

All mobile phones must be put onto silent before entering the unit.

We encourage all parents to spend as much time with your baby on the Neonatal Unit as possible.

When visiting our Neonatal Unit, please observe the following:

  • All visitors are asked to take off their outdoor coats/jackets (but not leaving valuables) and hang them up on the hooks provided.
  • There should only be two visitors at the cot side at any one time, one of whom must be a parent.
  • Visitors must be over the age of 16 unless they are siblings due to infection control practices.
  • You may be asked to sit in the waiting room during procedures.
  • Named visitors can be agreed with the shift coordinator in special circumstances but named visitors cannot bring in other visitors.
  • Please respect the privacy of other families and do not approach other cots/incubators.
  • Please do not visit the unit if you are feeling unwell.

All our neonatal nursing staff are fully trained in breastfeeding and lactation. Our skilled staff will be supporting you to initiate and maintain your milk supply by showing you how to hand express and to express using a breast pump.

We also have an Infant Feeding Specialist Service who provide additional support to mothers expressing breastmilk for their sick or premature baby during their stay and can offer advice and support on breastfeeding.

The Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative

We are proud to be part of a fully accredited Maternity Unit for The Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative. We were externally assessed as providing a high standard of care for pregnant women and new mothers by implementing all the evidence-based standards.

New babies need quiet and calm in the first few weeks of life. The Neonatal Unit can be a stressful place for babies, subject to a bright and often noisy environment with frequent handling.

Research has shown significant improvements in a baby’s condition with the introduction of ‘quiet time’, these include:

  • More restful (deeper) sleep which helps babies grow and gain weight.
  • A reduction in babies’ stress levels which in turn helps regulate blood pressure, heart rate and breathing.
  • Improved oxygen levels and a decrease in apnoea and bradycardia.

We have ‘quiet time’ for a period of two hours a day from 2:00pm–4:00pm. We reduce the lighting during this time.

This is an ideal time for parents to have ‘kangaroo care’ (skin to skin) and spend quality time as a family with your baby.

We’ll ensure noise levels are reduced. If everybody works together we can help enhance the environment for our babies and facilitate a calmer atmosphere for parents and staff.

Important information for helping protect you and your baby whilst being on the unit.

  • If your hands are visibly clean, use the alcohol hand rub available before and after;
    • handling your baby, and/or touching their belongings/surroundings.
    • feeding (bottle feeding/breastfeeding) your baby, and also prior to expressing milk.
  • After changing your baby’s nappy, wash your hands with soap and water, dry them and then apply alcohol hand rub.
  • Please remember that sinks are designated for hand washing only – no fluids, for example, nappy water, should be thrown into sinks. Nappy water should be emptied into used nappies, then disposed of in a yellow lidded bin.
  • Any water used for your baby’s care must be obtained from nursing staff.
  • Do not use any tap water for your baby’s care during their stay.
  • Please clean communal items, such as breastpumps and breastfeeding chairs before use with detergent wipes provided.
  • Please clean your breast pump kits in the breast feeding room on SCBU, and store in a provided sealable bag.
  • If you require any items from the storage trolleys, for example, bottles, linen, please ask a member of staff to assist you.
  • When bringing expressed breast milk to the unit, please hand this to a member of staff who will place this in the fridge for you.

As a parent, you are a valued member of your baby’s healthcare team and we encourage you to take part in their care as much as possible whilst on the Neonatal Unit.

We understand that as a parent you may feel a little helpless and think you cannot do anything for your baby. However, here on the neonatal unit we use the Family Integrated Care (Fi Care) model whereby, you as parents are encouraged, supported and educated by the nursing team to enable you to become true partners in your baby’s care.

You can get involved in many aspects of your baby’s care developing confidence over time. Carrying out as many aspects of care for your own baby is essential for their development. Evidence has shown this can help:

  • Reduces stress for you and your baby
  • Improves bonding between your baby and you
  • Helps you to recognise when your baby is stressed or in discomfort
  • Helps reduce the length of your baby’s stay in hospital
  • Improves your confidence as a parent
  • Helps prepare you for taking your baby home

For information about how to become involved in your baby’s care speak to one of the nursing team.

You can also find information on the Bliss Website LINK.

The team provides a seven-day service, 8:00am–6:00pm and bank holidays 8:00am-4:00pm, with visiting undertaken usually between 9:00am-4:00pm. The team will try and offer a morning or afternoon visit time.

Outreach nurses provide ongoing care, advice and support to families whose babies are referred to them on discharge from the Neonatal Unit, the post-natal wards and other hospitals.

The team share follow-on support with other health professionals including Neonatal Consultants, Health Visitors, Community Midwives, Dieticians, Speech and Language Therapists, Physiotherapists and General Practitioners.

We used to tell parents to expect that premature babies would go home on or around their ‘due date’. But we now see that many babies born preterm go home well before this.

Babies who are born very early and may have been sick for many weeks, may still be in hospital after their due date. For most other babies born after about 30 weeks gestation, we expect that we could be planning for discharge from 35 weeks corrected gestation.  Knowing this may help you with planning getting things ready for baby at home.

If you have twins or triplets, they may not be ready for discharge at the same time. We expect parents to take babies home as soon as they are ready to leave the unit, rather than wait for the other twin (or triplets) to also be ready. This is for a number of reasons;

  • Home is the best place for a baby to be as soon as their care is complete – they need to be with their family.
  • Babies are at less risk of getting an infection at home.
  • By not keeping babies in hospital unnecessarily, we can ensure we have enough nurses to care for the babies who do need neonatal care.

Before your baby is discharged the nursing staff will ensure that you are confident in caring for your baby. The nursing team will provide you with advice and guidance on feeding and all aspects of parent craft, including how to give medicine if your baby may need it. To ensure this happens as parents you need to spend a minimum of a few hours each day on the unit with your baby.

On the day of discharge we aim to have everything prepared so that you will be leaving the unit with your baby no later than 12:00pm (midday). Please ensure you have transport arranged for this time.

Our Neonatal Unit has three newly renovated bedrooms for parents to stay overnight to be close and spend time with their baby. However due to the limited number of rooms we have available the shift co-ordinator will assess patient/ family circumstance and allocate rooms according to priority. This is reviewed daily.

Priority will be given to:

  • Out of area babies
  • Mums and dads whose baby is extremely sick
  • Mums that are establishing breastfeeding
  • Mums and dads rooming in with their babies prior to discharge.

Having a baby on the Neonatal Unit is a stressful time, but there is lots of support available both on and off the unit, in person and online. Don’t suffer alone.

Bolton Neonatal Unit –Special Care for Special Babies

Don’t miss out on our closed Facebook group. This is an excellent support group whereby, current and former parents of Bolton neonatal babies can support each other by sharing their own stories and photographs of the neonatal journey. Your request to join the group will be approved by a senior member of staff.

Bliss – for babies premature and sick

Bliss is the biggest charity for premature and sick infants in the UK. They provide a variety of online and phone support including a netmums forum, free information on their website about a range of neonatal conditions, email support and a buddy service. In addition, there is a telephone helpline to provide a listening ear. Call 0808 801 0322 (Mon-Fri).

Dads Matter UK

Dads Matter UK is here to provide support for dads worried about or suffering from Depression, Anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Spoons neonatal family support

Spoons have personal experience of neonatal care; their primary focus is on supporting the whole family, practically and emotionally from admission to the neonatal unit and beyond. They offer a range of support services for parents and their families to access on the neonatal units and within the community for all the provisions.

Service locations

Royal Bolton Hospital

Key contact numbers

Neonatal Unit

Tel: 01204 390748

Special Care Baby Unit

Tel: 01204 390828

Outreach Team

Tel: 01204 390735

Meet the team

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