There are a number of people who are available to help you and your baby. When your baby is discharged from the unit, a group of health professionals will continue to advise you on issues like feeding, growth, immunisation and development, as well as general baby care.
It is important to remember that job titles and services may vary from hospital to hospital, and you may not come across all the different types of healthcare workers listed here.
You will be informed about the types of help available to you when you go home with your baby and who to contact for specific issues. Make sure you have a list of useful contact numbers in a handy place.
Community neonatal nurse or family care worker
A number of hospitals have a nurse connected to the unit who makes home visits to families with a baby recently discharged from hospital. This specialist nurse will be there to support you and to advise on areas like feeding and ongoing medical needs, such as home oxygen.
The community neonatal nurse or family care worker will be the point of contact between you, the hospital and other members of the healthcare team.
Every family in the UK is assigned a health visitor when there is a new baby in the family. Yours may have already visited you while you were still in the unit. Unless your baby still needs to see a specialist, your health visitor will be your main professional support once you go home and will follow your baby’s development from birth to school age.
The health visitor will carry out basic health checks for growth, developmental milestones, and might organise immunisations. She or he is a valuable source of information on promoting health, home safety and parenting skills. Health visitors are available for home visits and at baby clinics.
General practitioner (GP)
Your baby should be registered with a local GP in the catchment area of your home address. Your GP can help with any health-related problem and can also make referrals to other specialised health professionals.
You may see a nurse at your GP’s surgery or your local health centre. Practice nurses are often responsible for your baby’s immunisation.
The homecare team
If your baby has ongoing medical needs, a homecare team from the hospital might be involved in caring for him or her on discharge.
The team will usually include a neonatal or paediatric community nurse and other specialists, depending on your baby’s needs. This will also depend on the services available at your hospital.