A special care baby unit (SCBU) is a specialist ward that a baby will be admitted onto if it requires medical help after birth. It may also be known as a neonatal unit (NNU).
Babies placed on SCBU will require care that is less intensive than the treatment provided in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Therefore, some babies may enter SCBU after receiving treatment in NICU, or may be admitted straight to SCBU if their condition from birth has been less critical.
The SCBU unit is staffed by specialised paediatricians and paediatric nurses. The equipment on SCBU includes incubators, ventilators and a range of machinery that will monitor vital signs such as heart and breathing activity.
Additionally, the temperature within SCBU is usually cooler that that of NICU, and some SCBUs may feature an even cooler room to help acclimatise a baby to the temperatures it will experience when he or she is allowed home.
Babies who require special care on SCBU include premature babies who need help with feeding and keeping warm; babies who have been born with a life threatening condition affecting their breathing, heart and circulation; babies born with extreme jaundice; and babies who are awaiting, or recovering from, surgery.
Babies who have had a particularly difficult delivery may also be admitted to SCBU so that they can be observed and recover from their birth.