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Barwon Health / Maternity Services

(03) 4215 2060

Special Care Nursery

The University Hospital Geelong Special Care Nursery is a level five neonatal unit providing care for babies in the Barwon south west region and is also a referral unit for other regional hospitals such as Warrnambool, Ballarat and Werribee. 

The Special Care Nursery has capacity to care for 20 babies at a time, with two specific resuscitation rooms, a parent lounge and two overnight rooms for parents to stay with their baby prior to going home. 

The unit has a fresh yet calming décor with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment for both staff and families.

Neonates from 31 weeks gestation can be cared for at Barwon Health, being admitted either from the birthing suite, operating theatre, emergency department and also transferred in from other hospitals.

Visitor restrictions due to COVID-19 

Due to COVID-19 and to protect the health and safety of patients and staff, visitor restrictions are now in place. Click here to view the most up-to-date visitor restrictions.

Reasons for admission to special care 

Where ever possible staff will keep mother and baby together however sometimes there may be a need for your baby to have extra treatment and care.

Some reasons babies are admitted to the Special Care Nursery include:

  • Prematurity - babies from 31-37 weeks
  • Respiratory problems requiring support to help with baby’s breathing and oxygen
  • Infection/sepsis
  • Temperature instability
  • Hypoglycaemia – low blood sugar level
  • Jaundice requiring investigation and ongoing phototherapy ( at times this can be managed on the Post Natal Ward)

Tests and services your baby may require

The Special Care Nursery provides many services including: 

  • Pathology (e.g. blood tests)
  • X-ray
  • MRI
  • Ultrasound
  • ECG (Electrocardiography)
  • Pharmacy
  • Infection prevention
  • Ventilator support (short-term)
  • Bubble CPAP and high flow respiratory support

Transfer for further care

If further care and testing is required in a tertiary hospitals such as the Royal Children’s Hospital, Royal Women’s Hospital, Mercy Hospital for Women or Monash Medical Centre, the paediatric team will discuss this with you and arrange for a specialist transfer through a service called PIPER. This is a highly skilled and dedicated service for the transfer of unwell babies for ongoing care or testing in Melbourne. A specialist neonatal doctor and nurse care for babies during this transfer.

Breastfeeding support

Special Care Nursery staff have extensive training and experience in educating and assisting mothers to initiate lactation, especially when their baby is in the Special Care Nursery and separated from them for a period of time. Small and premature babies benefit from close contact with their parents and breastfeeding is also very important.

Home visiting service after discharge

Barwon Health provide post discharge home visiting to assist in the transition from hospital to home. This service is provided by the Special Care Nursery who would have cared for your baby during their stay and all staff have extensive knowledge in ongoing care needs of your baby. Liaison with the Maternal Child Health Nurse service and Barwon Health staff assists in a smooth transition to community care for mother and baby. This service is called Paediatric Home and Community Care, and provides home visiting Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 


Last Modified: Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Contact the Special Care Nursery

Level 4, University Hospital Geelong

Bellerine Street, Geelong, 3216

Ph. (03) 4215 2089 or

(03) 4215 2090