Babies are cared for in the Special Care Baby Unit (S.C.B.U.) when they need extra nursing and attention. The S.C.B.U. or Neonatal Unit, can be a frightening place. Your tiny baby may be in an incubator, attached to tubes, wires and monitors. This equipment is a support for your baby and it helps the nurses to monitor her more closely. Emotionally, this time can be very draining for parents. You are trying to come to terms with your baby’s condition and are awaiting news hour by hour. Spend as much time as possible with your baby, talk to her, touch her and she will become aware of your presence.
The following are brief descriptions of some of the equipment in the S.C.B.U.
A lead with a sensor is attached to your baby’s tummy to register her breathing. If she stops breathing an alarm will sound.
There are two leads attached to your baby’s chest and one to her tummy in order to record her heart rate and breathing.
This is a transparent container for keeping premature or sick babies in controlled conditions and protecting them from infection. If your baby can breathe on her own; she will be put in a closed incubator and oxygen administered if necessary.
INTRAVENOUS (I.V.) PUMP
If your baby is unable to feed, the nurses will attach an intravenous pump, consisting of a bag of fluid hanging on a stand. The fluid passes through a tube into your baby’s vein and supplies her with sufficient fluids.
This unit uses fluorescent light to treat jaundice in the new – born baby. Eye shields are placed over your baby’s eyes for protection.
A tiny probe usually attached to the baby’s foot, links to a machine which displays her heart rate and the amount of oxygen circulating in her blood. The pulse oximeter can also be used instead of the cardiac monitor.
If your baby has difficulty breathing and needs to be ventilated, she may be placed on a radiant warmer. This is an open incubator that keeps her warm and gives the doctors and nurses easy access to put up drips etc.
A Ventilator provides artificial breathing for your baby if she is unable to breathe on her own. If your baby needs to be ventilated, ie. needs a life support machine, she will probably be nursed on an open incubator.