At the neonatal ward
The Neonatal units at Karolinska University Hospital are located at three different sites in the greater Stockholm region – Danderyd, Huddinge and Solna.
The units specialise in different fields and your baby may need to be moved depending on its medical condition and care requirements. Some babies can be cared for at home in the later stages of their care with the support of the community care team that is attached to all wards.
A day at the Neonatal ward
On Karolinska University Hospital's neonatal wards, the medical team caring for your baby comprises many healthcare professionals who, together with the parents, evaluate the baby's health and provide care based on your baby's individual needs.
Our physicians make medical assessments and judgements. They make decisions about which medications the baby should receive and can also carry out a wide range of examinations and treatments.
Registered Nurses and midwives
Nurses perform many different tasks on our wards. Among other things, they plan the nursing of babies based on their current state of health. They also coordinate examinations and treatments in other parts of the hospital. In addition, they give babies medication via intravenous drip and help parents to contribute to the care of their newborn baby.
Paediatric Assistant Nurses and Assistant Nurses
Assistant nurses are another important part of the team supporting your baby. Among other things, they monitor the baby's health by measuring, weighing and monitoring important functions, such as heart rate and blood pressure. The nurses also provide support to parents when they are breastfeeding, tube feeding and taking care of their babies, and are responsible for ensuring that everything in close proximity to the babies is free of bacteria.
The dietician calculates what nutrition the babies need based on their age, weight and potential complications. These calculations form the basis for the nutritional supplementation that the babies will receive when required. Nutritional supplementation means that the baby will grow optimally and its organs will develop as they should.
Some babies need additional additives added to their breast milk to grow properly. Some babies will receive donated breast milk from Modersmjölkcentralen (the Breast Milk Centre) and slightly older infants will sometimes be fed baby formula. The Nutrition Assistant coordinates milk management, analyses the nutritional content of the milk and enriches it based on the dietician's calculations so that all babies receive the nutrition they require. The Nutrition Assistant also manages the breast milk donated by mothers on the ward.
Counsellors are available on all of our wards and help parents manage the sometimes sudden changes that may occur when you become a parent of a sick newborn baby. The counsellors can provide support in the event of a crisis and can provide emotional support. They can also advise parents about the rules regarding benefits from Försäkringskassan and provide support with other contacts to public agencies as well as practical issues.
Pharmacists prepare the medicine that babies receive via intravenous drip. They also answer questions about medicines and organise the management of medicines on the ward.
The work of our medical secretaries includes quality assuring patients' records, filing them and registering them so that the hospital receives reimbursement for the care that is provided. In addition, they also send the babies' records to the BVC, other healthcare providers and insurance companies who need information about the baby's care while at the hospital. Parental consent is always obtained before sending medical records anywhere.
Ward Assistants and Care Services
Our ward assistants ensure that hygiene on the ward is always of the highest standard and that all the materials required are at hand. They also serve breakfast in the parents' kitchens.
Our psychologist meets with parents as well as staff to provide support and works with the long-term follow-up of the mental health of our families.
The role of the physiotherapist is to monitor your baby's motor development at our neonatal clinics.
When your baby is being cared for by us, you will be assigned contacts, such as nurses who are responsible for planning the care as well as paediatric nurses or assistant nurses.
Our counsellors work with psychosocial treatment. Support in the event of a crisis in connection with the hospital stay forms a large part of the counsellor's work and expertise. This may involve discussions about:
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Thoughts and feelings that have arisen in connection with the baby's stay on the ward
- Parenting support
- Managing anxiety and stress
- Practical difficulties that may arise due to the hospital stay
- Concern about how siblings or other family members are coping with the situation
Our counsellors can also provide information about practical matters, parental insurance and VAB (Care of a sick child) as well as guidance when contacting other public agencies. If for any reason you are not satisfied with the care provided, the counsellors can assist you in contacting Patientnämden or IVO, the Health and Social Care Inspectorate. Counsellors are available on the wards, as well as in community care and at the neonatal clinics.
The Hospital Chapel can also be a good source of support for many people and it is always open at all our hospitals. Svenska kyrkan (The Swedish Church) has also created a information page about grief where you can find out about how you can support children experiencing grief.
It is not uncommon for our very youngest patients to have to transfer to another hospital during their care.
Transferring your baby to another hospital mainly happens for three reasons:
- The baby's care needs cannot be met on the ward on which the baby is being cared for.
- The baby is currently being cared for at a special unit, but the need for care can now be met at a hospital closer to home.
- The bed situation on the ward where the baby is being cared for means that the baby needs to be moved.
In Stockholm there is a specialized Neonatal transport team who are on call 24 hours a day. The team is responsible for the emergency transportation of intensive care patients. If the baby is stable, it can be transferred by the local teams who are located at all neonatal units in Stockholm.
The baby may be transported in different ways depending on its condition. All hospitals in Stockholm have the same equipment for transferring premature infants:
- Transport incubators providing everything from different forms of respiratory support, to having the capacity to administer different types of infusions.
- Kangoofix – transporting the baby lying on your chest secured in a harness, while you sit on a stretcher in the ambulance.
- Car seat – for transporting more stable, slightly larger infants who do not need respiratory support.
We try to avoid separating parents and their babies as much as possible. As a parent, if you are unable to accompany your baby during the transfer, we know from experience that it can be good to be involved when moving the baby into the transport incubator and that you also put a comfort blanket with your smell on it into the transport incubator, and place it close to the baby's face.
In the event that you cannot accompany your baby when it is being transferred to a new hospital, the transport team will take your contact details so that they can call and inform you when the baby arrives.