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Neonatal Medicine

About Neonatal Medicine

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

    With up to 851 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 Nurse Coordinator 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 spend time with their baby on the Butterfly Ward 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visitor guidelines on Butterfly Ward are still currently impacted by COVID restrictions. Whilst we are in the process of easing some restrictions, please refer to the bedside nurse, ANUM (nurse in charge of shift), Nurse Unit Manager, or the Ward Clerks for the current guidelines.  New visitor guidelines will be published on out website in the coming months.

     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 ANUM 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.