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Peninsula Health launches Newborn Hospital in the Home service

Adrianna and Dominic Coelho with their newborn baby, Avia.

Peninsula Health has launched a new service allowing premature or low birthweight babies to be monitored and cared for in the comfort of their family home.

The service, called ‘Newborn Hospital in the Home’ (‘Newborn HITH’), sees trained nurses and midwives visit the homes of new parents whose babies have additional health needs, with a focus on monitoring of feeding, weight gain and health promotion. It is run by the Special Care Nursery in conjunction with the Hospital in the Home unit.

All nursing staff take care to ensure all Covid-19 precautions are met, including patient screening and infection control measures in the home.

Nurse Unit Manager of the Special Care Nursery, Alison Conroy-Joyce, says the service brings a range of important benefits for families.

“Overall, the Newborn HITH service is aimed at improving our consumer experience and ensuring really positive outcomes for families,” says Alison.

“One of the main benefits is that it reduces the length of time that a baby spends in hospital in acute care.”

“It also reduces the amount of time that parents are separated from their baby, as we don’t have facilities here (at Frankston Hospital) for families to stay overnight. So, they don’t have to go home every night and leave their newborn at hospital.”

Adrianna and Dominic Coelho (pictured above) were one of the first families to use the Newborn HITH service, following the birth of baby Avia.

“Newborn Hospital in the Home was a great experience for our family,” says Adrianna.

“It is overwhelming bringing home a newborn, but especially nerve-racking bringing home a ‘premmie’. Thankfully this program has helped ease our minds and helped us develop a daily routine.”

Laura Cosans was one of the service’s first patients after giving birth to baby Sophie (pictured)

“As much as we know that the hospital is the safest place for a premmie in the early days of life, we found it very comforting being able to have Avia home with us.”

Laura Cosans was another of the service’s first patients, after giving birth to baby Sophie. Peninsula Health nurses and midwives visited Laura at home for three consecutive days after she left hospital, monitoring and assessing Sophie to ensure she was putting on enough weight.

“The staff were really, really good,” says Laura. “They gave me a lot of advice and were keen on answering any questions that I had.”

The service’s launch was a collaborative working approach between Alison, Sharon Ellis (Nurse Unit Manager, Hospital in the Home), Colleen White (Operations Director, Women’s Health and Children’s and Adolescent Health) and Alison Watts (Operations Director, Outpatients).