About the RCH Newborn Intensive Care Unit Butterfly Ward

  • As part of the Department of Neonatal Medicine at The Royal Children's Hospital, the Butterfly ward provides the best neonatal care for the sickest babies and infants from Victoria, interstate and overseas.

    With up to 650 admissions each year, the Butterfly ward cares for patients from other hospitals in Melbourne and country Victoria, southern New South Wales and Tasmania and from the RCH Emergency Department.

    Babies admitted to the Butterfly ward have a wide range of complex medical and surgical problems. Some require the support of a ventilator for their breathing and many require specialised surgical procedures.

    The management of our babies is overseen by a team of Neonatologists, Neonatal Nurses and Allied Health Specialists. Particularly complex or long term patients are appointed a Care Manager to co-ordinate their care.

    The care of Butterfly ward patients involves extensive co-operation with many other teams and departments within the RCH. These include:

    • surgical teams from areas including: General Surgery, Thoracic Surgery, Urology, Neurosurgery, Otolaryngology, Plastic Surgery, Maxillofacial Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery and Cardiac Surgery
    • sub-specialist medical teams including: Neurology, Gastroenterology, Clinical Nutrition, Thoracic Medicine, Cardiology, Nephrology, Ophthalmology, Endocrinology, Genetic Medicine and Metabolic Medicine
    • Speech Pathology, Physiotherapy, Music Therapy, Educational Play Therapy, Audiology and Occupational Therapy

    Parents may visit their baby on the Butterfly ward 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A maximum of three people are permitted at the bedside at any one time, one of whom must be a parent (unless parents nominate family members who may visit in their absence.)  Children under 16 years may only visit if they are siblings of the patient.

    Any visitors who are unwell with an infection, cold or 'flu or who have come into contact with an infectious disease should check with the bedside nurse or nurse in charge by phone before coming to the Butterfly ward. 

    See Visiting hours for general hospital visiting times.

    Once discharged from the Butterfly ward, babies are followed up by either their General Practitioner, Paediatrician or Neonatologist. RCH Neonatologists see their patients in the RCH Specialist Clinics (Outpatients) and appointments are arranged prior to discharge.