Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide
Special Care Baby Unit

Special Care Baby Unit

A $50 million upgrade of the Women's and Children's Hospital is about to get underway so that we can continue to provide the highest quality of care while planning continues for a new hospital.

The Neonatal Nursery is one of four clinical areas to be redeveloped, with works to commence in late 2019/20.

WCH page link iconClick here to find out more

The Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) is a 35 bed unit caring for babies needing short and long term observation and specialised care born at the WCH, born elsewhere in South Australia, the Northern Territory, western Victoria and the far west of New South Wales.

SCBU also provides a Neonatal Early Discharge (NED) program. This allows some babies to go home early on gavage (tube) feeds. Your baby's care is continued in the comfort of your own home with regular visits from experienced SCBU Midwives/Nurses.

Information for Families

A multidisciplinary team provides care for babies in SCBU. These babies are usually born ill and/or prematurely. The unit supports and actively encourages the transfer of babies to their local hospital once they no longer need specialised care.

Parents and Caregivers

We welcome the involvement of parents and caregivers while babies are in SCBU. Our care is family-centred, meeting the physical, emotional, social, cultural, and spiritual needs of the family.

Adjacent to SCBU is a Parenting Unit which provides education and support for parents and families prior to your baby going home. A waiting room is located near the nursery entrance.

WCH page link iconAccommodation is available at the WCH page link iconRoyal Adelaide Hospital Residential Wing. Nearby hotel or motel accommodation is also available.

The WCH page link iconButterfly Card scheme assists families where babies are admitted to hospital for an anticipated period of more than a week or who have frequent admissions or outpatient/day therapy appointments.

Please ask the Midwife/Nurse who is caring for your baby if you wish to see a social worker, interpreter or minister of religion.

Caring for your Baby

The unit is staffed by Registered Nurses, Registered Midwives, Graduate Nurses and Midwives, and Enrolled Nurses. Many of the Registered Nurses/Midwives have additional qualifications in Neonatal Intensive or Special Care Nursing.

A Home Visiting Service is provided by experienced midwives from SCBU for parents and babies who live within 20 km of the WCH. Referrals to other support agencies such as Child and Youth Health, Parenting Network are also offered.

Services and Facilities

WCH page link iconMeals for parents and caregivers are available from the Cafeteria or the Playdeck.

For safety reasons, please do not bring food or hot drinks into the nursery.

Mobile phones interfere with sensitive medical equipment and must not be used in the Nursery. Pay phones are located around the hospital.

WCH page link iconCar parking is available on or near the hospital grounds.


  • Parents may visit anytime.
  • Other adult visitors: 1 – 8pm with parental approval only.
  • Children: brothers and sisters of the baby only.
    All other children under the age of 13 are not permitted in the Nursery.
  • Only 4 people (including parents) per family may visit at one time.
  • There may be occasions when visiting is limited to Parents only.

It is important that all visitors wash their hands on entering and leaving the unit. 

People who are unwell must not visit the Nursery.

You may wish to make arrangements for other siblings to be cared for while you are visiting. Siblings may be cared for in the WCH WCH page link iconcreche.

Research Activity

The WCH has an ongoing commitment to research and evidence based practice. Many research activities are conducted with support from the neonatal staff.


24 hours

Contact Details

Clinical Service Coordinator - Julie Rundell


3rd Floor - Queen Victoria Building

Mailing Address

Special Care Baby Unit
Women's and Children's Hospital
72 King William Road
North Adelaide 
South Australia 5006


Phone: (08) 8161 7848
Pager: 5913
Fax: (08) 8161 7835

Email:  julie.rundell@health.sa.gov.au

WCH page link iconBack to Women's and Babies' Division

last modified: 05 Jul 2019